BidMind Blog

Industry expert Jason Stanard explains Geofencing

Jason Stanard, CEO of Hyloq. Image credit: BidMind

Key takeaways:

  • Imagine dropping a pin in Google Maps and saying you’d like to target people within a five-mile radius. That’s the general idea of what Geofencing is.
  • People appreciate an honest answer to a technical question rather than 3-dollar marketing words.
  • Advertisers tend to forget that their number one job is generating leads and selling their clients’ products.

We had the opportunity to talk with Jason Stanard, CEO of Hyloq and technology entrepreneur with 20 years of experience.

Hi Jason. It seems that no matter how small or how big the business is, you are always there to help it grow. Can you share your story and how you came to have this approach in business and marketing?

I started my career in technology and sales by a happy accident. Soon after college, I moved to Los Angeles. It was 1999-2000, while the internet was really just developing, I happened to get a job as a call center supervisor for a relatively new company called Earthlink. As my career developed, I had the opportunity to work with several different tech start-ups. I was one of a few salesmen that began selling a relatively new software called content management systems (CMS) and other technology solutions.

In the early 2000s, I had to learn every aspect of the software I was working with to be able to sell it to C-Level execs. This made me a technically astute nontechnical person. I think that my knowledge of technology, combined with my ability to do marketing, made me a natural fit to work with and pitch to the CTOs and CMOs.

After working for several tech companies in various sales and marketing roles, I moved to Tampa Bay and joined a web design and development company as VP of Sales and Marketing. There was talk about me buying the company or being promoted to CEO, but the management didn’t want to go with either plan. So, I started and self-funded my first company, GreatCircle Studios. It grew to over 850 active clients before I sold it to a marketing firm based in Wales. After the acquisition, I took some time off, and within 3 months got very bored and decided to start a new advertising firm, Consult FGC.

Around 2018, the CMO of a relatively large credit union called and asked me to look into the developing technology called Geofencing and find a solution that would work for them. I spent around 2-3 months doing demos, researching software, and running some pilots. I just couldn’t find anything that would do what the credit union wanted. Even existing geofencing solutions that required around a $30k per-month commitment didn’t do what was needed. So, I decided to just build the right solution myself. That’s how I invested my own capital and started Hyloq (pronounced high-lock).

To those who are new to Digital Advertising, could you explain what Geofencing is, in your own words?

Geofencing as a word is the rough combination of the words “Geography” and “fence.” In the advertising community, it’s a process of creating virtual areas around any place, or multiple places, such as a business, inside which you can capture devices and deliver ads to potential clients. Imagine dropping a pin in Google Maps and saying that you want to target people within a five-mile radius or drawing a polygon around various physical locations, e.g. streets. That’s the general idea of what Geofencing is.

What does Hyloq do for its clients?

The original intention for Hyloq was to be a standalone piece of software that any marketer could log in and use. In that sense, we would be a software development company that only needed to release and maintain its app. With time, it became clear that we also needed to help our clients actually run their campaigns. So we pivoted and became more of a managed advertising partner as opposed to a standalone software manufacturer.

We work with some brilliant people with business acumen that have been successful in online advertising. However, almost every client comes to us without the technical and advertising prowess required to launch a successful geofenced Digital Advertising campaign. We discuss questions like where they should put their ads, how much they should spend, what kinds of ads they should run, when they should run them, what advertising channel(s) they should use, and so on. There are so many variables that come-into-play, when setting up, running, and tweaking geofenced campaigns.

As people who built the software from scratch, we can tell what is realistic and what should work for a client. That’s why we ended up pivoting our business model to include consulting as well as the software development aspect. Today, we manage geofenced campaigns for credit unions with 96 locations, energy companies that deliver ads in nine different states across three different time zones, and other various clients.

Can you share a story of your client that managed to kickstart their business by applying Geofencing?

I actually have two stories I’d love to share. One story is about a large real estate company from Florida, while another one is about a Manhattan financial adviser.

The first client invests in real estate properties that they know are walk heavy or drive heavy. The firm makes a profit by bringing specific companies like chains of supermarkets, fast food restaurants, department stores, etc. to locations that many people visit daily. This client had previously tracked foot traffic by hiring a contractor company that would physically send a person with a clicker to count the number of visitors of a specific location throughout the day.

Instead of hiring the contractor, we proposed  to run a pilot program with Hyloq for three months. We evaluated how many people and at what times visited certain areas, among many other variables. It brought several results to our client. First, it cost them roughly one-tenth of what it would have to conduct their operation with the aforementioned contractor. Second, it took just one day to set everything up to run. Third, the client didn’t need to worry that the data was flawed because of human error.

In terms of the overall results of the pilot, our client learned that a location where they were going to sell cheap was actually extremely busy during lunchtime and happy hour. It turned out that many people from nearby businesses would go around that specific corner between 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM. In another instance, the client changed the location of a future supermarket by using our data. At the end of the pilot, the company told us that we saved them around $150k in potential mistakes. We did it simply by saying how many devices entered, stayed, and/or left specific geofenced locations and at what times. The funny thing about this story is that we didn’t need to show a single ad.

In the second example, we worked with a financial adviser who lived in one of the most expensive buildings in Manhattan. He wanted to target the 20k – 30k people living in his neighborhood. We set off by putting broad geofences around the specific area. After about a month, we found out that most people the client wanted to talk to were congregating every weekend in a specific golf course five miles away from the original location. We adjusted the advertising and geofences and focused on the golf course. We also targeted nearby businesses where you can purchase or repair golf equipment.

For the campaign, we ran a simple ad of the client’s face and a line saying something like, “hey, you know me, I live in your building, let me manage your money.”

About two months into the campaign, the client called me and asked to turn off those ads. I asked him what happened and learned that now the whole neighborhood recognized his face, and everyone wanted to talk to him. The client was very grateful and even sent me an expensive bottle of bourbon.

Hyloq has recently partnered with BidMind and launched its own custom demand-side platform (DSP). What led you to this decision? How do you think it will change the client experience with Hyloq?

We have tried working with multiple DSPs, and there are a couple of reasons we chose BidMind’s white label solution.

When evaluating other DSP’s I often ask very specific technical questions and appreciate it when I get an honest answer and not 3-dollar marketing words back. Working with BidMind, we would always receive answers back to my tech questions in a reasonable time. I also appreciated that this team was upfront and honest with us from the start. We never get a strange “gotcha” bill at the end of the month after signing on.

The majority of Ad Tech companies we talked to wanted a year-long commitment of guaranteed monthly ad spend. With the campaign examples I described earlier, one client worked with us for three months, and the other worked for only two months. We also had a client that was running for mayor in a town. He did a “Geofence blitzkrieg” for six weeks, got elected, and that was the end of it. So as you can see, that business model wouldn’t work for us.

Hyloq has clients with seasonal businesses. For instance, one of them is an energy company from a state where, by law, citizens can only switch to another gas and electricity provider during a four-month period. This means we have limited time when we can promote the services of this company.

While we have clients working with us on a regular basis, their ad-spend varies wildly from month to month. That’s why when an Ad Tech company says we need to commit to six-figure sums even to start using a platform, I don’t think it’s something worth signing up for.

With BidMind, we don’t have to worry about all of that, because the pricing structure is based on client ad spend. With most other Ad Tech companies, if you want to do campaigns that involve Geofencing, you have to commit tens of thousands a month in ad-spend whether you have one or fifty active clients.

Can you highlight specific features powered by the BidMind DSP in which you see a special value for your clients?

A big part of digital advertising is how well you are able to target your intended audience. Our clients vary widely. There are credit unions, investment brokers, vehicle part manufacturers, national energy brands, and many other types of businesses.

So while ads on one SSP work for one client, it might not work as well for another. Utilizing BidMind as our DSP gave us access to multiple SSP’s and access to specialized networks, which was a big highlight for us.

The ability to choose a different Ad Exchange and targeting methods is very helpful. We can narrow down our audience, see who is responding to our ads, and what changes we need to make. Access to all that in one platform is really practical.

Thank you very much for this interview. As we are wrapping up, could you give general advice to someone who is planning to launch their first marketing campaign?

Sure, there are two key things I would say. First and foremost, our job as advertisers consists of two very basic but primary things.

1. Generate leads for our clients.
2. Sell products for our clients. Period.

I can’t tell you how many clients we’ve acquired from another firm that forgot about  #1 and #2 above. Generating leads, selling their products, and helping your clients make money. That is your number one job. Everything else is secondary.
Secondly, make sure you hire and retain the best people. For example, Hyloq CMO Raneshia Lawrence has been working with me since the time of my first company GreatCircle Studios, over 10 years ago, and she is invaluable to our growth.

Ad Tech Insights is an industry insights initiative launched by BidMind. It is aimed to assist marketers in digital advertising and other facets of Ad Tech.

For more Ad Tech insights, follow Jason Stanard via LinkedIn.

Follow our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more Ad Tech Insights interviews, exciting industry news, and BidMind updates.

Challenges and opportunities of CTV advertising with BidMind’s Oleg Fogel

Oleg Fogel, Chief Strategy & Technology Officer at BidMind. Image credit: BidMind

Ad Tech Insights Interview

Key takeaways:

  • With CTV, advertisers gain a new set of tools, which can be especially useful with omnichannel approach.
  • While CTV is an exceptional brand advertising channel, it can also drive direct sales with a correct approach.
  • CTV will see a lot of development, especially in the way customers interact with the ads.
  • First-party data is a key in targeting and measurements for digital advertising with a focus on CTV.

In recent years, the way people watch television has changed drastically, with users switching from linear to connected TV (CTV). We talked with BidMind’s Chief Strategy & Technology Officer Oleg Fogel about the rising opportunities and challenges of CTV advertising.

Oleg, you have been at the forefront of programmatic advertising as an active industry member since its inception. Why do you think CTV is so trendy among marketers?

Streaming is a natural progression from linear TV, and with time most households in developed countries will be enjoying connected TV. This logically brings the attention of marketers that want to keep up with the audience. We are observing this trend across many markets. For example, according to our partners Pixalate, in LaTam CTV recently saw a 482% rise in year spending.

CTV has many advantages in the realm of digital advertising. On the one hand, we have TV sets shared by households that provide ample opportunities for brand advertising. You don’t often get a chance to play an ad to a whole family gathered in the living room, with everyone excited about a new show. The audience both sees and hears the message, and they become involved.

At the same time, if we consider OTT in general, it finds its way to personal gadgets such as phones, tablets, and laptops. Through these devices, advertisers can play targeted ads aimed directly at the customer.

CTV is relatively safe advertising channel in terms of privacy, making it even more attractive to industry professionals. For example, according to IAB 2022 Brand Disruption Report, privacy is stated among the reasons given by marketers ramping up their CTV budgets.

One of the challenges CTV advertisers face nowadays is attribution since the ad buyers need to understand the viewers’ actions after watching an ad. How is Ad Tech reacting to this challenge of creating conditions for practical attribution models that include CTV?

First, let’s keep in mind that there is no ideal magic attribution model for every campaign. Each brand has its own stakeholders, and every product or service has its funnel, which makes it difficult to apply a blanket strategy for all campaigns.

There are numerous ways to measure the performance of CTV ads, and I’m sure we will hear about new implementations in the months and years to come. In this answer, I will run through a few examples, from the most simple down to more complex cases.

Let’s say, a campaign wants to drive app downloads from TV set viewers. Advertisers can set up a QR code and use scans to measure the campaign’s effectiveness. Easy enough.

In another example, the campaign may be aimed at bringing a customer to the website. QR code can be in place here as well, and additionally, “assisted visits” can be measured with a multi-touch points approach by IP addresses. In this case, advertisers would need to cross-reference visitors’ IP addresses and the available first-party data.

An even more complex case in terms of measurement would be attracting customers to a physical location. To evaluate the success of such a campaign, I would include footfall measurement, client first-party data, and probabilistic data science algorithms.

Essentially, with CTV and other digital advertising channels like Audio, the marketers got a new set of tools. Those tools open new opportunities, but we also need to adapt to use them for the best possible outcome. Those who adapt quickest will reap the best results.

CTV advertising traditionally is seen as a tool to increase brand awareness rather than a vehicle for generating sales. How do you think this perception will evolve over the next couple of years?

As I’ve mentioned, there is no magic model to fit every product or brand. For some clients, CTV is a perfect instrument to bring brand awareness. To others, CTV can be used to drive sales.

There will always be creative marketers who can take advantage of every aspect of various advertisement channels. And that brings us to another dimension of modern Ad Tech – the omnichannel approach. A campaign may start interaction with the customer through CTV, then switch to an audio ad and finish with a web banner. Modern advertising platforms, BidMind included, make it easy to launch campaigns involving multiple communication channels. So by combining CTV with other channels, marketers can achieve multiple goals, build awareness and drive sales simultaneously.

For many ad buyers, fraud protection and brand safety are essential. How mature is CTV advertising to face the existing safety concerns?

Ad Tech has a lot of experience dealing with ad fraud, and the principles generally remain the same. We need to deal with familiar threats such as privacy protection, impression validation, etc. Every platform owner is interested in creating a safe space for the business growth of their clients.

Narrowing down to the specific issues of CTV, its ecosystem has room for growth in impression validation capabilities. There are notable initiatives to create practical mechanisms, and I believe it’s just a matter of time until they are implemented by the key market players. For example, IAB Tech Lab’s Security Foundations Working Group proposed ads.cert protocol suite to address fraud risks cases with CTV in mind.

In general, this issue is complex and should be constantly addressed. We at BidMind verify the data and inventory ourselves and with the help of our partners, including Pixalate and DoubleVerify. This way, we make sure we align with privacy regulations and protect our users’ identities.

Compared to other digital advertising options, CTV is still in the early development stages. What kind of innovations do you think we will see in CTV in the coming years?

This depends on the ways connected TV will develop. We have some ideas based on the recent trends and common sense that will drive it. Just like the mobile ecosystem had in its early stages, CTV advertising nowadays has a lot of ways it may evolve. I believe, the way we interact with the ads will change.

For example, while streaming CTV content, users often engage with a secondary device scrolling social media feeds. We may see developments allowing advertisers to take advantage of this behavior, such as the two devices interacting with one another to know what the user is doing.

In the coming years, we will be seeing solutions aimed to maintain large volumes of smaller campaigns as well as hyper-targeting based on location, habits, and other traits. As an example of such innovations, BidMind recently launched a new geofencing feature called GeoNow. This feature allows marketers to execute omnichannel campaigns, reaching specific audiences in precise locations.

What can you say about the precision of targeting in CTV advertising? How well is it developed in comparison with the other digital advertising options?

As with the other programmatic advertising channels, precision in CTV boils down to the amount of data you have and how you manage it. There are data management platforms (DMPs) that work as Ad Tech think tanks to handle this task and help provide accurate results.

One thing about Ad Tech which is especially important for CTV advertising is the basic human approach. A company can build a platform powered by modern UI, the latest targeting tools, and the best data. Yet, customer support, sales, AdOps, and other teams will still always need to sit down with the clients and listen to what they say. I believe that this is the only practical approach to consistently drive efficient client-focused campaigns.

The challenges marketers face are changing constantly, and we need to adjust on the fly. You can’t just stop in development and just sit on your laurels.

To sum up, what would you say to the ad buyers currently evaluating CTV as part of their marketing strategy?

For obvious reasons, COVID had a profound impact on streaming content consumption. People have begun spending more time both with their personal devices and in front of a TV set. Furthermore, with customers growing increasingly protective of their privacy, CTV provides a wide range of tools for advertisers to apply contextual targeting. Advertisers can combine content information with a clear picture of the customer profile. This provides engaging content for the customer and positive interaction for the brand. It’s a win-win.

Between 2021 and 2025 it is estimated that CTV spending will double and reach $27.47 billion, numbers courtesy of eMarketer. This alone shows how trendy connected TV has become and that it will continue to rise. This is a new golden era for TV advertising, one that I believe will be full of unexpected challenges, parried by intriguing creative solutions.

Ad Tech Insights is an industry insights initiative launched by BidMind. It is aimed to assist marketers in digital advertising and other facets of Ad Tech.

For more Ad Tech Insights, follow Oleg Fogel via LinkedIn.

Follow our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more Ad Tech Insights interviews, exciting industry news, and BidMind updates.