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Digital advertisers use all kinds of profiling, segmenting, and behavioral data to direct the right ad to the right potential customer.

For mobile ad network MobileFuse, it comes down to “receptive moments.”

Last year, the New York City-based company released its Mindset Targeting technology to detect those moments and deliver appropriate ads. At that time, it served only mobile display and rich media ads using this approach, but today it is adding a growing category of video ads.

CEO and cofounder Ken Harlan told me that he recently “had lunch at a nice bar [in Manhattan], and had a burger.” Most of the people in the bar “seemed to be business people,” similarly enjoying a mid-day meal, he said. In this setting, a vacation ad might be appropriate.

But at 8 p.m. that evening in the same bar, he pointed out, “it will look totally different.” The patrons will consist of a different crowd, and most will probably be downing pre-dinner drinks. So perhaps they would be more receptive to a restaurant ad.

Someone sitting in an airport with many flights cancelled because of weather might be more interested in ads from a beer company than an airline. And a person in Madison Square Garden would probably be more receptive to one kind of mobile ad than another, depending on whether she’s watching a Kelly Clarkson music concert or a boxing match.

Mindset is designed to take into account such environmental factors as weather, local event schedules, census, and time of day, as well as geolocation. It also includes the level of user engagement — such as looking through a carousel of product images — for similar ads in similar situations.

But the moments really are moments, since users are not tracked in anonymous profiles, Harlan said, unless there is retargeting that employs profile data from a third-party provider.

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Prior to Mindset, the company said it would have used first-party data from a publisher, geotargeting, and possibly some third-party data from a provider like eXelate or BlueKai, which is how much of ad targeting is conducted.

“A lot of companies use location,” he said, but it might be geofencing for a retail store. If you’re within five blocks of a McDonald’s, he said, you could regularly see ads for that chain. MobileFuse’s clients include McDonalds, Land Rover, and Abercrombie & Fitch.

But Mindset is designed to “decide the right time” to show you a McDonald’s ad, even if you’re within five blocks.

Of course, most ad networks and marketers tell you they deliver their ads at the right time, to the right person.

But MobileFuse thinks it has found the formula for the missing ingredient of “moment.” As advertisers add more layers of data, the differentiating trick will be their particular recipe — their combination of data ingredients — for approaching you with the right pitch, right when you’re ready to hear it.

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