Beacon data provider Unacast has announced a new partnership with mobile advertising and marketing platform Opera Mediaworks that will allow advertisers to segment and retarget consumers based on what places they have recently visited. The partnership potentially represents a shift from the GPS data that advertisers have previously relied upon for recent location ( which only works when users are outdoors and actively using their mobile devices) and toward more granular beacon data in profile creation and retargeting.
The partnership gives Opera Mediaworks clients access to Unacast’s “real-world indentity” profiles that are created from the aggregated beacon data of its 43 partners — and it potentially allows advertisers to make their messages more timely and more personalized to the user. While beacons have been used largely to target consumers with in-store messaging, opening up their data to marketers is a little like having a “real-world cookie”— allowing them to develop an understanding of the consumer’s habits and interest beyond the confines of a single store.
“It’s been very clear that a lot of these big advertising players have been looking at how to use beacon data for the past year,” Unacast CEO Thomas Walle told Street Fight. “But the challenge that they had is to get a scaleable amount of data and to have a one-stop shop to access structured proximity data.”
With the agreement between the two companies, advertisers using the Opera platform can now segment based on locations that consumers frequent even within a store — where beacons providers can configure their data with centimeter precision. So a person who is browsing in the refrigerators section of a department store can potentially be retargeted with relevant ads targeted to your mobile device later on (following you for a period of time the same way that online ads do).
Walle says that Unacast aggregates data for partners representing roughly 30% of currently deployed beacons, giving the company a wide reach into different locations around the world. The company “aggregates and harmonizes” the data, so that it can be repackaged for clients like Opera and used at scale.
He says that we’re still at the very beginning of seeing how beacons will work, but that his partner companies are already getting more focused on verticals, geography and segmentation than they had been before — and that even the hardware is getting more advanced. He also said that he’s seeing more and more deployments, and more campaigns going from pilot projects into more substantial commercial applications.
“[These companies] understand proximity marketing,” he said. “It’s equally important to understand that data. We are on our way there, but we still have to acknowledge that it is early.”
David Hirschman is a co-founder at Street Fight.