Skyhook_logoMobile apps must continually seek new ways to differentiate in a competitive market that is only getting fiercer by the second. Brought to you by Skyhook, this post is part of a series called “Apptitude”  looking at how app owners can reduce friction, boost user engagement, monetize, and get to the user’s home screen. See all the posts here.

Let’s talk about our world and what we want from it world today. As a culture we want to advance, we want to succeed and we want to do it efficiently. As a society, we are impatient and most of the time we view the tiny bumps in the road as hurdles. They take us from the place we want to go and they can interrupt our focus. They are points of friction.

But what if we looked at the tiny bumps in the road as opportunities to be better? Our job in the adtech space is to communicate, elevate, provide choices, and to sell. I would like to talk to you today about not being a part of the current that takes us down the river, but becoming the current: the force that takes us down the stream.

We are part of an ecosystem. By very definition, pieces of the ecosystem feed one another to keep it going smoothly, to keep it flourishing. They evolve over time in an attempt to move towards advancement and optimization. Our ecosystem involves apps, publishers, and adtech players like SSPs, networks, exchanges. and DSPs. It involves agencies and brands, and ultimately, consumers. Each of the players relies on one another to get what they need.


The demand side wants to get the right message to the right person at the right place and time in order to get more conversions, clicks, and ultimately, revenue. The supply side wants more engagement, downloads, and higher-value inventory. And consumers want relevant and personal experiences that make their lives easier and reduce friction. They have a problem or question that they are looking to solve.

Understanding all of this, what have you done for your users lately? Do you give them content, or do you improve an experience?

The advertising experience today

Adtech has been a very content-based ecosystem. The way you do it now is you think about the content first and then try to get it in front of a person in a place at a time. In an ideal world, we always want to deliver the right message to the right person at the right place and time.

Skyhook 3.3

In the current state, we focus on the message, the website, and who we think will see the message. Today, we think of channels like websites, and we think of the concept in aggregate. We think about the demographics of the people that go to the website and we still cast a wide net, and we wonder why people are ignoring us.

Why do we do this? Because person and place are fuzzy, you don’t know as much about them as you think you do. But not all location is created equal.

Experience is the new channel

On-device location enables advertisers to know the accurate and precise location of the user’s device. This means you can have finer level detail of the place such as venue category, name, and address. Now place is clear.

What about person? While we don’t know the identity of the person, we do have a history of precise location tied to a device. This opens up the ability to categorize behavior at a granular level. Add venue-level context to each precise location and you have a story of the device behavior called a Persona.

Skyhook 4.4

For instance, if a user visits coffee shops frequently, he is a “Coffee Lover” persona. Knowing this level of detail about a user’s behavior without actually knowing the identity of the person allows advertisers to deliver relevant content to their audiences. Knowing that “Movie Goers” are also likely to be “Family Shoppers” means that you can know where to target your consumers on a personal level that will resonate with them. So person becomes clear.

Now we are in a position to know who the person is, and the right place and time, before we give them the content. We have good location and if we use this to our advantage, we can do some really cool things to enhance an experience and reduce friction. Instead of thinking about the website as the channel, we need to think about experiences and then develop the content for those experiences. Experience is the new channel. And now we can turn ads into useful content.

At the center of the experience is good location. The more granular the location data, the closer we can get to knowing who the person is without identifying them on a personal level because we know the venues they go to and can unlock their behavior.

Improving experiences with good location

Most of the time when a website asks for location, a user gets a very invasive screen. We call it the screen of death. Do you know how many people actually turn it on when you ask this way?

Only 16 percent will opt to give you their precise and accurate location. This means that publishers are limiting the amount of right message, right person, right place, right time. But by enhancing the experience with transparency and a good value proposition, users will be more inclined to turn on location services, allowing for more personalized content.

With accuracy and precision we have the ability to learn context and become educated on our consumers. This ability allows us to shift our focus to creating an experience that will reduce friction and become vital. People remember how you make them feel and it directly affects their loyalty. Compare this to sending them irrelevant content which just annoys users. But if you enhance their experience by making the effort to understand their context, it will leave them with a positive, “VIP-level” feeling.

Skyhook 5.5

The bottom line

We now have the ability to offer the right message to the right person at the right place and time. Fuzzy becomes clear. This is why experience is the new channel to get to your consumers. And with Skyhook’s precise location and context, advertisers can use individual-level data to personalize their content. With Skyhook location and context, everybody wins.

Matt Kojalo is VP of Ad Tech Solutions at Skyhook Wireless.

Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact