YP Boosts Location-Based Ad Capabilities With Sense Networks Buy

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David-PetersenOnline business directory company YP announced Monday its acquisition of mobile ad firm Sense Networks for an undisclosed sum. Sense Networks offers location and behavioral-based ad targeting capabilities.

Sense Networks analyzes data sets such as the latitudinal and longitudinal information in ad requests from mobile apps to help advertisers target mobile users. Its offerings include a real-time bidding (RTB) platform and location-based consumer behavior profiles that advertisers can target against, as well as the ability to measure in-store visits.

Sense Networks, for example, can deliver targeted mobile ads to people who live within a certain distance from a store, are of a certain age group or have visited the client’s competitor, among other criteria.

Sense Network’s 10-person team is joining YP’s National Markets Group, which helps national advertisers deliver local campaigns. The acquisition has already been completed, according to Sense Networks’ former CEO, David Petersen, whose new title is VP of YP’s National Markets Group.

Joining YP made sense, Petersen said, because “YP is big on the mobile search side, which complements what we do, and there’s a great opportunity for us to enhance YP, especially among national advertisers.”

YP earned approximately $1 billion in digital ad revenue in 2013, and more than one-third of that was attributable to mobile, according to a company statement. Sense Network will help YP boost its mobile ad offerings through its targeting capabilities, said YP CEO David Krantz.

“With Sense’s technology, YP will be better positioned to improve and grow our mobile advertising leadership through enhanced targeting to consumers,” Krantz said in a statement, adding that the company plans to make other acquisitions as it expands its mobile advertising offerings.

YP was formed in 2012 as a merger between AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive. Cerberus Capital Management owns the majority stake in YP and this is YP’s first acquisition since the merger. Before it was acquired, Sense Networks had raised approximately $9 million in venture capital.

The race to deliver local, targeted ads to consumers has drawn numerous players. YP faces competition from Google, which lets customers show local ads that are triggered by users’ searches on Google Maps. Facebook and Twitter are also reportedly working on their own location-based mobile ad capabilities.

Other mobile advertising companies that could potentially be snapped up next include PlaceIQ, xAD, Verve and JiWire, which all offer location-powered mobile advertising capabilities.

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