As Location-based Ad Demand Grows, Gimbal Offers App Publishers A Supply-Side Platform

Gimbal's Proximity Data Platform is meant to give publishers more control of their first-party geo-data, while encouraging the release of more valuable ad placements.

Location-based software marketing platform Gimbal is beta testing a supply-side platform aimed at giving app developers and mobile publishers greater control of their first-party geo-data — and in turn, to get them to offer more premium ad inventory for brands who want to reach consumers where they are in real-time.

Dubbed the Proximity Data Platform, Gimbal is positioning it as a real-time tool for publishers who want to embrace location-based advertising and analytics on their own terms.

“Mobile app publishers today are finding it difficult to generate, monetize and operationalize valuable proximity and location data, while doing so in a way that delivers an ideal experience to the most demanding users and maintaining user privacy and mobile best practices.” said Paul Cheng, senior vice president and general manager of Marketplaces for Gimbal. “The combination of the new Gimbal Proximity Data Platform, Gimbal’s superior technology and our experience with blue chip enterprise customers and marquee brands give our PDP publishers the confidence and knowledge that their location data is robust, accurate and secure.”

The launch partners of Gimbal’s PDP are mobile attribution specialist The Kochava Collective and proximity network Unacast, which has helped pioneer the use of online-to-offline retargeted ads by working with beacon providers.

“Kochava is excited to partner with Gimbal as a data partner in the Collective and expand its mobile audience targeting capabilities with first-party proximity data,” said Kochava CEO, Charles Manning. “Unlike current data providers leveraging [demand-side platform] bid-stream data, and server-to-server integrations with app publishers, Gimbal’s PDP provides direct, verifiable, first-party, proximity data leveraging their state-of-the-art SDK, including unlimited polygonal geofencing and industry-leading Bluetooth beacon technology.”

What Does A Supply-Side Platform Mean For Location

The creation of a supply-side platform follows the wider evolution of companies in the location space, such as xAd, Ninth Decimal, and Verve Mobile. Those companies began their respective existences over the past decade as mobile ad networks that aggregated publishers’ inventory for advertisers based on place.

But the ad network model has faded as programmatic methods have become the main way online and mobile advertising is bought in sold. In the ad net model, advertisers bought blocks of publishers’ inventory; with programmatic, individual audience segments are automatically bought and sold in real-time based on specific sets of data.

Aside from the fact that “cookie” data associated with PC display advertising is greatly limited when it comes to mobile advertising, geo-data can provide a clearer picture of a consumer based on the patterns created by the places they tend to go (“these people goes out to a lot of restaurants” or “this person goes grocery shopping on Wednesday evenings” or “these people have been visiting auto dealerships” and so on).

As part of the programmatic trend focusing on serving publishers, UK-based location ad platform Blis has just launched of a private marketplace, Blis Prime,  help generate more comfort for large publishers who worry about either depressing or relinquishing control of their crucial first-party audience data by providing greater transparency.

Gimbal’s Expansion

Among all the promise of programmatic, the lack of transparency about pricing and the identity of ad buyers has been a particularly thorny issue for publishers. Gimbal’s Cheng said that the PDP is meant to address that problem head on.

“The data rights for publishers using the PDP encompasses outdoor geo-data as well as indoor beacon signals as well,” Cheng said. “A private exchange can help with transparency and it is on the product roadmap as we build out the PDP.”

Cheng has been working on the PDP since Gimbal acquired Phigital, a company he founded, last October. Phigital’s services allowed brands to present a permanent set of manageable media assets — such as photos, videos, and textual information — that would encourage and interest users anytime they happened to be looking for a specific business type, such as a clothing store or a hotel.

In a sense, Phigital’s legacy has gone in to establishing the PDP alongside Gimbal’s other two business interests: operating beacon hardware and software for indoor marketing, as well as setting up geofences around outdoor places.

“We’ve been focused mostly on the tier one than the bigger tier two publishers,” Cheng said. “They are ready because they are starting to integrate into the application location services as part of the user experience.

“That’s where Phigital can help because the digital platform takes all where the geo fence triggers or the beacon triggers and enables the application publisher to use those triggers for creating their own user experiences,” he continued. “As part of that process, they collect a lot of collection data on their audience. Their audience, particularly on tier one and tier twos, most of the tier ones do have some capability and modernization displayed in media time, but from the location data perspective, they don’t have that capability to date. So, they are ready for that.”


About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.