Product Product | November 19, 2015

Get hyperlocal with Locate: In Conversation with Eeshan Chatterjee, Data Scientist at Media iQ

“The real power of hyperlocal information lies in understanding people, their actions, and at a higher level, how it will help in deducing the underlying cause-and-effect patterns towards ad-conversions.”

‘Hyperlocal’ is the new buzzword in mobile ad tech. So what does it do? It allows marketers to geographically target audiences for the purpose of delivering relevant ads by using a smartphone’s GPS data.

Say a customer is near one of your retail stores, wouldn’t it be great to offer them an incentive to entice them to visit your store? However, it’s just not that simple in reality.

To explain how it really works, Eeshan Chatterjee throws more light on what MiQ’s Locate is and how it is going affect the future of programmatic advertising.

1) What is MiQ Locate?

Eeshan Chatterjee discusses Media iQ’s Locate

MiQ Locate is Media IQ’s hyperlocal advertising product. Hyperlocal advertisements are ads served on the basis of location based intelligence, including the presence of a device at a location.  It includes the places and points of interest around that location, and the collective physical journey of the target device across multiple grids of locations.

2) How does hyperlocal advertising work in programmatic advertising?

When buying programmatic inventory, we as bidders are exposed to a lot of information around each ad space. This includes the lat-long (location) information for the device, the IP address for mobile web inventory, the device type and model, the app or the website, amongst other things.

The key is to build intelligence around locations, apps, devices and many other derived factors that can be expressed as a set of rules. Our in-house technologies allows us to check each individual auction against all such rules across all our campaigns globally, and decide if the ad space in question is relevant to any of our campaigns.

An example of such intelligence is observing the presence of a device in multiple football stadiums over a course of time, which classifies the person as a football fan. If the device is seen multiple times in one stadium, or at a set of places- like a bar, when a football match is being played- we can then classify the owner of the device as a fan of that team. This information can then be used in a variety of ways, across multiple clients and types of campaigns.

Another example is our ability to deduce where the owner of a device resides and works. This is based on multiple adspace generations at certain locations that is then passed through a data-cleaning pipeline consisting of robust outlier detection, a custom clustering logic, and noise reduction using concepts similar to random matrix theory. The output of this pipeline is that we can tag each cluster of observation – like work, home, a hangout spot (pub/restaurant) or a public place that the owner of the device frequents. We can extend this information to find out the most probable routes and modes of transport, the devices owned by their friend circle etc.

All this information can then be used to create a complete 360 degree view of each device that we see. When this intelligence is coupled with our cross-device matching information, we can create a holistic view of each user we encounter- all of it without ever accessing any personally identifiable information.

3) What are the challenges yet to be solved with Hyperlocal advertising?

The most important piece of information that powers hyperlocal advertising is location information. At present, accurate location information is available from a rather small proportion of the available inventory, as there are multiple checks in place that prevent the dissemination of such information.

Apps that rely on accurate GPS information to work are the best sources of location information, and mobile OS developers often encourage app developers to use approximate locations for everything else.

Take for instance Android’s LocationFudger, which has a 3-step process that adds noise to the location information- making it a herculean task to get accurate information back from its output.

Thankfully as advertisers, we do not need accuracies of 10 meters yet, so for most use cases currently, we can derive the actual location of a device over a series of impressions within an acceptable level of tolerance.

Another big area of concern is the scalability of this concept. The number of people in a location- say a store, or a stadium are very limited, and in order to achieve impressionable  numbers, the bids have to go up significantly compared to standard reach/retargeting campaigns. This may cause a spike in CPMs, with hyperlocal paradigms having to achieve similar or better CPAs despite the higher CPMs to become the norm rather than the exception.

4) How is MiQ Locate going to affect the future of programmatic advertising?

We believe that the real power of hyperlocal information lies in understanding people, their actions, and at a higher level, how it will help in deducing the underlying cause-and-effect patterns towards ad-conversions. This will not only help us create better hyperlocal targeting and further optimise every campaign that we run, but will give us an opportunity to serve more non-intrusive and relevant ads than ever before.

Fans of the sci-fi movie Fifth Element will recognise the quote “Anticipation denotes Intelligence”. Therefore, by moving from a reactive to an anticipatory world, we will be able to better understand the upcoming needs of each individual, and tie brands to them – instead of the other way round. This paradigm shift is what we perceive to be the next era of the information age, where not only all information is available to everyone, but it is delivered to each in a customised manner.

Another big area where we see the hyperlocal advertising paradigm bringing about a revolution is in the world of physical adspaces. Outdoor ads, such as billboards, roadside information signs, ad spaces in malls etc., are getting increasingly digitised, and the day is not far when these will also be auctioned using the same RTB infrastructure that exists today. Media iQ’s hyperlocal solution – Locate, can in such cases be used to look at groups of people instead of individuals to decide on bids. Bringing all forms of ad-serving under one unified framework is the next era of B2C communication, and we are ready for it with Locate as one of our main offerings.

For more information, click on Locate.




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