In what could be seen as a signal of things to come for the mobile-location industry, CraveLabs is opening up its platform and launching a suite of self-service tools to give media planners and location analysts more open access to the company’s suite of location intelligence solutions.
The expansion of CraveLabs’ existing DropIn mobile DSP/DMP solution, DropIn Vantage, was designed to address the needs of increasingly sophisticated clients.
“We’re seeing a maturing of the market where location data and tools are no longer niche capabilities. With this maturing comes an expectation that the software platforms need to have more mature tools and more transparency,” says CraveLabs Co-Founder Jeff Christoforetti.
Although DropIn was launched commercially in 2015 as a mobile advertising platform for SMBs, the solution has grown significantly in recent years. Major media companies and direct national brands have also adopted DropIn, as they seek location-enhanced mobile solutions.
Outside of media, Christoforetti says he’s seeing more interest from municipalities, foundations, and large real estate holding companies that are investing more into smart tools for planning various types of development in new markets. One goal in creating DropIn Vantage was to make many of those same location data capabilities more accessible to the end user. Machine learning and automation tools are part of that maturation, as Christoforetti says clients are now asking for a deeper understanding of audiences and locations, including brick-and-mortar and digital properties.
“Whether it be building a marketing campaign or doing urban development, these decisions just can’t be trusted to an anonymous team of ‘data scientists’ hidden away behind the scenes,” he says.
Capabilities like audience building, transit zones, insight tiles, and precision match are unique to DropIn Vantage. The solution can be used independently or in conjunction with CraveLabs’ hybrid mobile DSP/DMP platform, with tools that include a full set of GIS mapping capabilities to keep spatial relationships from getting lost.
Christoforetti sees DropIn Vantage as a more sophisticated alternative to the Excel spreadsheets that too many media planners and location analysts are still using, with location finally receiving the attention it deserves.
“Clients have come to us saying they are essentially given just a spreadsheet with an index of ‘target population’ or ‘percentage lift’. This means location is being jammed back into the Excel paradigm where location data really doesn’t belong,” he says. “Just like we’ve seen data-journalism get more visual and interactive in the recent past, we believe all analysis and reports should be human-centered which means visual and tied to maps not just columns in a spreadsheet.”
An increased demand for transparency around location data isn’t the only change Christoforetti is seeing right now. Having been in the mobile-location space with CraveLabs for more than five years, he’s seen first-hand how social media—and Facebook in particular—has changed the landscape for mobile-first companies.
“One glimmer of hope for businesses and consumers alike is software solutions built around the real world as opposed to social media or search behaviors,” he says. “Real world software solutions take maps and locations and the daily interactions people have, including social media ones, into consideration to provide solutions.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.