Blis predicts future location behaviour with the industry’s first AI powered mobile advertising solution
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Blis predicts future location behaviour with the industry’s first AI powered mobile advertising solution
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Blis Futures guarantees new customers in pubs for Stella Artois

London, 28th March 2017 – Today, global location intelligence company Blis, released its latest groundbreaking innovation for the mobile advertising market: Blis Futures. Using proprietary deep learning technology, Blis Futures is an AI-powered, predictive location modeling solution. It identifies consumers most likely to visit specific locations, then provides advertisers a guarantee they will only be charged per consumer visit. Working with Vizeum, Stella Artois is the first global brand to run a campaign using Blis Futures to drive customers into pubs, increase engagement and incite consumers to purchase.

Blis Futures uses machine learning and predictive analytics to group like data sets and identify patterns. The solution builds audience segments based on their predicted conversion rates and indicates when and where to target this audience group to achieve the advertisers’ business objectives.

‘At Stella, it’s a crucial part of our mission to keep innovating to better understand our customers. Part of that is harnessing new technologies to engage with them in new ways,’ says Ali Humphrey, Brand Manager at Stella Artois. ‘Thanks to Blis Futures, we are now able to recognise how our audiences behave in the real-world as well as the digital one, allowing us to engage with them at the right moment and impacting their future purchase decisions.’

Demonstrating its confidence in Blis Futures and the strength of its predictive data analysis, Blis charges advertisers only if the customer visits the intended location using performance metric, ‘Cost Per Visit.’ The launch of Blis Futures demonstrates a continued investment in physical performance metrics.

‘Blis Futures allows brands and businesses the opportunity to target shoppers based on where they will be.’ said Greg Isbister, CEO of Blis. ‘We are now able to accurately identify people who we know are either highly likely or definitely going to buy a product. This eliminates waste in spend and increases campaign performance.’

‘For marketers looking to increase footfall and in-store sales, this alternative to traditional performance and payment methods is revolutionary. It won’t just increase performance; it will also boost trust between brands and their tech providers’, says Shaun Lynch, Digital Planning Manager at Vizeum agency for AB InBev. ‘It’s one of the many reasons we’re excited to work with Blis as we start unlocking new customers with Blis Futures.’

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Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores

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Retailers’ Golden Ticket to Reviving Brick and Mortar Stores

Interested in understanding how to connect mobile experiences to physical stores? Or how mobile can be the extension of a retailer’s store? Maybe you’ve wondered about the new Cost-Per-Visit metric? Look no further. Blis’ location data experts will be answering these questions on a weekly basis over the next few months in our ‘Retail Series’ which aims to equip retail marketers with the right insights and top tips to stay ahead of the game.

Following its decision to buy e-commerce company Jet.com last year, Walmart recently agreed to acquire Bonobos, a retailer with a strong online presence and generous shipping policies. If these moves weren’t sign enough that the physical and digital retail worlds are merging, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is the ultimate wake-up call.

Retailers everywhere are realizing that while brick and mortar stores are still critical, they’ll need a strong digital strategy to keep them filled with happy customers. Mobile devices are retailers’ golden ticket to connecting with consumers and reviving in-store shopping.

Understanding Consumers though Mobile

Whether they are going to work or going shopping, consumers carry their phones with them wherever they go. As a result, mobile devices provide retailers with a constant stream of valuable consumer insights. GPS and Wi-Fi data can tell retailers, for instance, whether a consumer is at a desktop at work, connected to Wi-Fi at home, or walking past a retailer’s store.

Beyond real-time location data, retailers can use historical location data to understand a consumer’s habits. For example, some consumers might visit a luxury jewelry brand on Fifth Avenue just to browse, even if they have no intention (or monetary means!) of buying. Thus, for that specific retailer, in-store visits may not indicate ideal customers. Instead, that luxury retailer can look at historical location data to identify their ideal consumers: perhaps individuals who frequently stay at the Four Seasons Hotel or regularly check in to exclusive country clubs.

But retailers shouldn’t rely on mobile data alone. By layering mobile insights with other valuable sources of data, advertisers can gain a holistic picture of their perfect audiences. Data collected from laptops, for instance, can reveal browsing histories and online shopping patterns; however, consumers won’t be opening up their laptops while shopping in stores. The trick is for retailers to match the data across devices to unique mobile device IDs. Only then will they gain a more holistic understanding of consumers and will be able to target or retarget them with products they are likely to go buy.

Driving Foot Traffic Creatively

Once they’ve gotten a clear and thorough understanding of their ideal audiences, how can retailers use mobile devices to drive foot traffic? Proximity targeting—delivering ads to consumers when they come within a certain distance of a store location—is a common approach. Retailers can maximize the power of proximity targeting by crafting unique and imaginative creatives.

For instance, advertisers can deliver ads to shoppers already in the area to tell them about an in-store sale, or offer them a coupon they can only redeem in person. Retailers can also deliver ads that feature a handy map telling consumers how to find their store.

Sometimes, targeting consumers when they are walking by a store may be a little too late. A QSR wanting to boost its 10 am breakfast crowd, for instance, may want to target consumers when they wake up around 7a and begin planning their day. Otherwise, the consumer has most likely already made their breakfast choice.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for retailers looking to connect with consumers and drive in-store sales, a strong mobile strategy is key. As the digital and physical worlds continue to blend, retailers must harness the insights and capabilities of mobile to reach their unique brand objectives.

Tune in next week to read all about how mobile is fast becoming the extension of a retailer’s store.

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3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one Marketing

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3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one Marketing

Today, mobile devices are like mini retail stores we carry around in our pockets: places where consumers can browse merchandise or place orders almost instantly.

But mobile devices also give consumers something they can’t get in stores: personalized marketing. Collecting data like shopping histories and browsing patterns, mmobile devices provide retailers with detailed insight into individual consumers and a means of communicating with them directly.

How can retailers use mobile insights and capabilities to craft effective, one-to-one messaging?

1. Get personal.

Today, consumers want—and expect—ads to speak directly to them. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when their online experiences aren’t personalized.

The easiest way for retailers to personalize content is by harnessing their first-party data. If a customer purchases a dress online, the brand can use what they know about her (her fashion interests, browsing history and email address) to customize subsequent content. For example, the brand can serve an ad via email that suggests a pair of shoes to go along with the new dress.

With CRM data, the retailer can see what the woman bought online, but do they know what she’s purchased elsewhere? Or what she does when she’s not shopping? This is where location data comes in. Retailers that layer location-based insights on to other sources of data can get to know where and when consumers shop at brick and mortar stores. They can also identify other behavioral patterns, including which day of the week and time of day they like to go shopping—data can enables greater levels of personalization.

Let’s say a CPG brand wants to reach out to a previous customer who hasn’t been seen in store lately. The marketers can use their knowledge of the consumer’s daily commute to deliver the ad just before he leaves work, suggesting he stop by on his way home. They may even offer him a discount on the product he previously purchased.

2. Market to individuals, not devices.

Once retailer marketers have identified their ideal audiences on mobile, they shouldn’t see phones as the only means of communication. Consumers own an average of 3.6 connected devices, so retailers should communicate with consumers across the devices they use, including tablets, laptops, desktops and addressable TV.

However, if a retailer sees a user reading political news on the tablet all day but watching cartoons in the evening, it might not be the same same person. With families and partners sharing devices at home, marketers need to make sure they are constructing nuanced consumer profiles across devices in order to reach out to individuals, not just devices.

3. Don’t be creepy.

Personalized, cross-device marketing is on the rise in part because consumers are increasingly willing to disclose their data to retailers. After all, purchase histories and location data are essential for useful or interesting ads.

But how retailers use that data is key. Consumers want to feel understood, but they don’t want to feel like ads are invasive or drawing on data that’s simply too personal and private. Marketers need to make sure they aren’t crossing any personal boundaries or making consumers feel uncomfortable.

If marketers want to turn heads or, more importantly, turn consumers into buyers, they’ll need to do more than blast out generic ads to the masses. When retailers personalize ads with these three tips, they’ll see huge improvements in campaign performance.

But how, exactly, do they measure these improvements? Find out next week when we assess the best metrics for retailers.

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The IAB 2017 Mobile Symposium

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The IAB 2017 Mobile Symposium

A Mobile Guy at a Mobile Conference Listening to Content on Mobile – Thoughts from the Day

The IAB held its 2017 Mobile Symposium in New York on June 13. The theme for this year’s event was “Always On: Surviving and Thriving in a Mobile World.” This could have been the theme for the past five years’ events – and could probably work for the next five years ahead as well. As mobile handset numbers continue to grow globally, the fight for attention and survival on the smartphone screen will be increasingly more important – and more challenging.

Obviously, there was a lot to discuss at the IAB event, so I’ll dive right into some of the themes that were featured throughout the day:

Mobile Time Spent vs. Mobile Ad Spend

Today, advertisers are spending more money on display, but that trend is beginning to shift: as consumers spend increasingly more time on mobile, our ad spend should shift accordingly. There is a $16 billion gap today between the time spent on mobile and the ad dollars funneling towards it. Research shows that a full 28 percent of consumer time is spent on mobile, yet only 21 percent of ad spend heads in that direction.

Consider too that competition for attention is coming from multiple screens. People watching primetime TV are generally on multiple screens, and approximately 80+ percent look to their phones when a commercial comes on. The younger the audience, the higher the percentage turning to their mobile screens. Advertisers spend $39 for a prime-time CPM, but mobile CPMs could be as low as $7 to reach the same person at the same moment – and on mobile, you’d have their undivided attention.

From Mobile to Mobility

Another common theme discussed focuses on the philosophical aspects of mobile marketing – and brings up some very valid ideas that we frequently overlook. Alexa Christon, head of media innovation at GE, led a session that discussed how her company “sets itself apart by weighing scalable options against cutting-edge solutions in a constantly evolving market.” There were a lot of smart takeaways as Christon dove into the ways in which GE focuses more on customer behavior, rather than specific channels.

One key point from Christon is that we must remember that we are not advertising to a mobile device, we’re advertising to a mobile person. Too frequently we focus too heavily on the screen, rather than the person looking at the screen, and how they are experiencing and receiving our messages.

At Blis, we remind marketers of the importance and value of taking into consideration behavioral data over time and using it to build audience profiles. These profiles will serve to drive better and more accurate targeting.

Beating Ad Blocking with Mobile

Mark Howard, CRO of Forbes talked about “Reimagining the User Experience,” an important topic given the state of ad blocking today. There are no ad blockers for formats other than digital. Consumers may turn off the TV when a commercial comes on. They can rip a full-page print ad out of a magazine. However, they do not seem as violently opposed to these as they do to digital advertisements, where users are actively blocking ads from their screens. The number of consumers using ad blockers should be taken as a strong clue that the user experience needs to improve if we are going to have effective campaigns -and if we intend to continue growing ad spend.

The creative possibilities for ads are so much better on mobile than on any other platform: augmented reality, AI-based ads, location-relevant ads. We can create ads that react to shaking or swiping a device. We can design interactive gaming ads. There shouldn’t be any reason for consumers to choose to block ads. In fact, the only reasons for a bad user experience on mobile are laziness, lack of budget or lack of creativity. The mobile platform truly gives us the opportunity to “surprise and delight.”

Misconceptions

While the Symposium was a great event overall, there were some misconceptions about mobile that should be clarified. Before wrapping up, let me quickly run through those:

There seemed to be some confusion around what certain types of location data are capable of, for example cell tower triangulation, and what it does and what it does not do. It is not capable of accuracy down to a user specific lat/long – but it is fine if your target is broader, like a neighborhood versus a specific business. It appears that some marketers do not understand the in’s and out’s of location data types but, fear not, we have explained that in another one of our posts here.

There is also a critical misconception that mobile advertising is only for young audiences. Many marketers seem to think that mobile is only valuable to for reaching millennials and younger targets – but the stats prove that’s just not true. In fact, one out of every five people use their phone every five mins, the majority (63 percent) of smartphone owners worldwide use their mobile device at least every 30 minutes. Here in the U.S., 77 percent of all Americans own smartphones – from every age and every demographic!

One key takeaway for me was the observation that marketers still are not looking at location as a way of behavioral profiling & targeting. Their view seems limited to the basics of geo-fencing and geo-targeting. At Blis, we believe that where you go defines who you are and it is about understanding the movements of your audience to generate the most impactful advertising.

The IAB Mobile Symposium was an informative and well-organized event overall. There were lots of new ideas and helpful reminders shared. For me, it was a solid reminder that at Blis, we remain ahead of the curve in location advertising, and we have a lot of knowledge to share with the rest of the industry.

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