While more consumers own smartphones than ever before, they also face an unprecedented number of options when it comes to mobile apps. For app publishers, it can be hard to stand out in the crowd — even if your service is perfect for a a specific kind of user.
As a way to help publishers better target users, location intelligence platform Gimbal this morning launched a new proximity data service that collects and visualizes location data to help mobile app publishers better understand the real-world behavior of their users, said Paul Cheng, the company’s senior vice president and general manager of marketplaces.
“What we found with large retail organizations and large publishers is a lot of them would use our [software development kit] and collect data, but they wouldn’t actually know how to use it. So we put together a tool set that allows them to do that at scale,” Cheng said.
Companies already using the Gimbal platform include Scanlife, SnipSnap, and Perfect365. To source the data, Gimbal partners with a number of local data companies including Kochava Collective and Unacast.
Gimbal’s platform-as-a-service spares mobile app publishers the need to hire developers or task their own developers with laying out an infrastructure for location-data collection. The platform’s interface allows users to draw their own geofences, so there’s no need for novel code to define particular regions of interest and monitor them.
Cheng acknowledged that location data has become a crowded space but said that Gimbal’s service stands apart from the rest: “One thing that is a major problem for mobile app publishers today is there are many companies coming to them to incorporate their SDKs. Most of them are coming to them to change the user experience by giving them push notifications and pushing third-party advertising into their applications,” Cheng said.
“While the Gimbal platform can do that, that’s not our primary use case. Our primary use case is actually helping them understand their users’ physical-world behavior and from there helping them adapt the data to be more targeted and more relevant rather than push spam.”
Cheng said that mobile app publishers may also find Gimbal’s platform appealing because the company’s technology is tried and tested: “There’s this concept of SDK fatigue where there’s so many people that want to sell [mobile app publishers] SDKs for tracking or advertising or location services. … The developers get very tired. Gimbal’s SDK is very mature, very stable. It’s been used in over 200 million devices,” Cheng said.
Cheng also says the platform is sensitive to consumers’ privacy concerns — as well as those of app publishers looking to cater to that segment of the market: “There are companies that track users at all times. Gimbal does not do that. Gimbal only detects users when they’re in proximity of a beacon or if they cross specifically defined geofences,” he said, adding that the company also focuses on reducing the toll its data collection process takes on smartphone battery life.
Joseph Zappa is Street Fight’s news editor.