It did not seem to be breaking news when it was announced that YP, the former phone book branch of AT & T, was taking over the targeting specialist Sence Networks. But when looking a little closer one will see that Sense Networks is a very special business – and that maybe the news is quite considerable after all. The company was founded 12 years ago by scientists of the MIT and the Columbia University. It owns patents on technologies that allow behaviourism that is based on movement. The idea is both, simple and genious: Via GPS all geodata of a smartphoneuser is sent to the servers of Sense Networks. Those evaluate how and where that person is moving. The result is a gapless profile which allows exact conclusion about that person. The motto is: If I know where you move, I know who you are (and what you like).
Sense Networks compares the data with detailed geodata. The company knows which countries a person has visited, how long it stayed there, whether he or she likes to ride a bike or rather plays golf, if he or she choses to sleep in on sundays or goes to church instead. It is then possible to make calculations on whether that person is young or old, what profession he or she has and also how healthy and fit he or she is. The self-learning programs are constantly improving. According to the company they already own profiles of more than 100 Million Americans. As a consequence, it is no surprise that one of the Board members is a chief scientist.
Thanks to predictive analytics the program knows when a consumer will pass a certain shop – and can therefore show specific ads on the persons smartphone during breakfast or on the train - whenever he/she is most approachable for advertising. This method is a lot more effective than Geo Fencing which activates ads once a person is coming closer to a PoS. Because it is not always closeness that effects whether a person is open for commercials or not. And the traditional tracking of website users even seems to be very old-fashioned when you think of the options this kind of targeting opens up. So it is actually no surprise that the investors behind YP took a chance and bought the company.
This article was written by Rolf-Dieter Lafrenz, Consultant and Media Specialist at SCHICKLER Media Consultants in Hamburg. It was also published in german language at www.schicklernext.com.