Millennial Media Ramps Up Its Location-Based Mojo

MapThatMillennial Media is beefing up its location data prowess. The mobile ad network is rolling out an audience location ad suite dubbed “Point” and is teaming up with mapping and geo-analytics mainstay Esri.

Point unifies three location-based products: Point Audience Frames, powered by Esri, which lets advertisers use hyper-local data to build campaigns; Point-Fencing Route, which enables targeting based on location distance, such as individuals within a 10-minute proximity from a location; and Point Targeting, which identifies highly performing location-based segments like country and state.

Although Millennial has used audience profiles in the past, Esri will enhance data targeting, according to Carrie Seifer, VP of global strategy for Millennial Media.

“They have a lot of interesting data that furthers what we do,” she said. Esri, for instance, uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to help retailers forecast consumer traffic demand for purposes of site selection and future market analysis.

“We have a direct connection to 60,000 mobile publishers and developers that help us more accurately understand where a phone is,” Seifer said. Millennial hopes Esri’s technology, as well as third-party data, will help improve scale.

“Sometimes when you have accuracy, but don’t have the scale, sometimes you hit the customer one too many times,” Seifer said. “But when you start with a large-scale foundation and add data from publishers, it really helps with accuracy.”

Millennial has many competitors focusing on location-based ad initiatives, including Foursquare, which has begun to clinch ad commitments from brands like P&G, Volvo and Pepsi, for new breakout app Swarm.

Although Foursquare only recently entered the programmatic space, the company’s check-in and place-based data on some 45 million consumers along with its intention to shift to place-based media give the social network an advantage. And Google, which last summer announced it would surface ads based on Google Maps searches, remains the gorilla in the room.

Millennial Media had a rough last quarter, reporting net losses of $12.9 million, which was about four times the amount than the year prior. Its guidance was significantly lower than analyst expectations (about $20 million less for Q2). The company has been subject of much discussion around its potential for acquisition.


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