xAd announced a $50 million raise for its mobile geomarketing platform today, but the company says it doesn’t even need the money; it’s building its business on profit alone.
The funding may be yet another sign that growth funds are looking to get in on the future of mobile advertising.
Yext, a local listings management and search tool that xAd uses, took in $50 million in June to help it grow. It looks like investors are placing their bets early on mobile ad platforms as mobile advertising revenues continue to build.
xAd takes geomarketing to an extremely hyper-local level, not based on zipcode like with Facebook for example, but based on an app users’ actual location. For instance, let’s say you’re at Walmart and you open an app on your phone, an ad request is called based on your device id and location.
xAd tells me it might get other information about you depending on the app. “We can look in our system and say, have we seen this ad id before? What other ads have we shown them that they’ve responded to, and where else have you been?” said Monica Ho, SVP of Marketing at xAd.
Where this is really effective is for competitive conquest campaigns, said Karen Soots VP of Media Services at Blooming Brands, an xAd customer. “You can put ads out for people who are in the same location as a competitor’s restaurant and reasonably near our restaurant,” said Soots. The hope is the ad encourages the viewer to go to a Blooming Brands restaurant, like Outback Steak House or Carrabba’s, rather than the competitor’s restaurant.
The company also offers analytics, like how effective ads were at attracting consumers to a product. Then there’s Footprints, the company’s real-time consumer visualization platform. “Footprints is like a real-time visualization of who’s opening their phone and where they are, and you can see how many people are at [a location] at a given time, given day, given month,” said xAd founder and CEO Dipanshu Sharma. The software basically shows xAd how many people it can potentially target, which is key, because geomarketing is all about hitting as many precise targets as possible. “If there’s only two people [in a location] it’s not worth targeting,” said Sharma.
The company says hyperlocal advertising can’t work unless you have scale. That’s why xAd has spent so much time and money getting big, fast.
In terms of competitors, xAd is looking to contend with the big boys, like Facebook and Google, who are rapidly building ad platforms with geofencing capabilities and already have massive amounts of data about their many users.
xAd is integrated into 15,000 apps and operates in six countries, with expansion to China and France imminent, which means it can send out a lot of refined ads. That is what differentiates it from its competitors and why growth funds would be interested in it as a company. xAd is profitable, and all its expansion has been funded by profit. In fact, it’s profitable enough that the company doesn’t know what it’s going to do with this round of funding. It sort of just has it.
It’s that guy at the gym that just wants to get “huge.” So xAd wants to know, do you even lift bro?
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