Adsquare Layers Location Context On Mobile Audience Segmentation

Location contextMillions of mobile apps, billions of users and trillions of sensors add up to countless opportunities for brands and marketers to deliver relevant experiences and advertising — provided they can ‘listen’ to the data signals that indicate user intent.

Location, perhaps the most accurate indication of intent, is top of the list. But it’s also undergoing massive change as marketers recognize that longitude and latitude are just part of the picture. To gain a truly holistic view of the customer (insights that power programmatic advertising and key decisions around when and how an ad is served to be effective and relevant) marketers should focus on location context.

Simply put, location is not just position. People are situated in time and space. They are also involved in activities—multi-tasking and/or multi-screening — that, layered over their coordinates in time and space speak volumes about their context, preferences and ‘need-state.’

Effective advertising doesn’t just target the right audience; it targets their location context. It’s this capabilities combination that equips brands and companies to deliver marketing that is appreciated and valuable because it is inextricably linked to the world around us and related to our lives — and what we are doing— at precisely that point in time.

As I have written in Mobile: The Great Connector, it’s mobile’s “power to bridge the digital and physical worlds” that redefines the very concept of location and what it means to be ‘nearby’, allowing marketers to harness mobile (alone or in combination with other channels) to reach consumers and encourage real-world calls to action.


A company making its mark at this intersection is Adsquare, a Berlin-based startup helping advertisers identify and reach groups of people based on their real-life location and real-world activities.

Adsquare bridges the gap by analyzing the current local context of anonymous users in real time based on billions of data points, grounded in geodata as a strong indicator of their personal interests and, crucially, intent.

As Daniel Rieber, a director at Adsquare puts it: “Geodata provides a direct link between digital advertising and consumer behavior in the physical world, helping increase ad relevance. Take the business traveler at the airport or the student at the campus as examples. With the addition of qualitative POI, event, household and app-usage data to pure location-data audiences can be built over time, increasing in accuracy with every data point.

In practice, Adsquare effectively “divides the world into millions of 50×50 meter squares,” each square is defined by more than 1,500 internal and external data points, allowing the company to determine the target audience context in real-time and provide this to advertisers. The company is also an official real-time data provider within AppNexus, a tie-up that makes Adsquare data accessible for any buyer on the AppNexus platform, enriching inventory from global supply sources such as MoPub, Smaato, Nexage, PubMatic and others.

(It’s also interesting to note, as Techcrunch did here, that the company manages user profiling without relying on the use of cookies and in line with extremely strict European data protection laws— with Germany, Adsquare’s home market, being the most stringent of all.)

Student’s connected world

But Adsquare doesn’t just aim to make the connections in the data signals and data points (pertaining to our online and offline lives) to deliver advertisers select audience segments and targeted audiences. It has also begun to produce its own research, connecting the dots in how specific groups of people are reaching for their devices to get more done, across more screens, throughout the day and night.

Mobile Audience Student

The first in the series, released just this week, looks at the connected world of students. While based on a relatively small sample (500 students in the U.K.), the survey nonetheless provides broad insights into the preferences of this mobile savvy audience segment.

Among the findings:

  • 68% check the smartphone the moment they wake up
  • 71% buy products using their mobile to research, pay — or both
  • 84% use location based services, with over half (51%) happy to share their location for checkins and 3 out of 4 students relying on such services to navigate to their destination
  • 76% look up movies on their mobile —68% watch trailers and half buy cinema tickets

Predictably, education apps are big with the student crowd. According to the report, 63% of students surveyed use them and 72% organize their schedules with the help of apps as well as the smartphone’s in-built scheduling capabilities.

My take:


The first edition of Adsquare’s Mobile Audience Radar provides some important data points to help marketers better understand and reach smartphone users. (In this case, the student audience.) But it also draws our attention to the increasing importance of data as the fuel that powers mobile’s amazing ability to bridge the digital and physical worlds. Against this backdrop, marketers don’t just have to think differently about location in order to capture the full attention of an audience that increasingly prefers to multi-task across multiple screens on the move. They have to grasp the importance of location context to reach very defined segments and drive increased advertising engagement. People are moving through a data-infused world and data-driven companies like Adsquare are helping to connect the dots to provide location context and bring marketers one step closer to answering the key marketing question: “Where and when can I most effectively reach my target audience?”


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