Thinknear Goes On Location With In-Stream Mobile Video Targeting

Ads with ‘sight, sound, and motion’ will be aimed at on-the-go audiences based on where they are with the Telenav company’s GeoVideo offering.

Programmatic mobile video ad sales are relatively small, but it's growing rapidly.
Programmatic mobile video ad sales are relatively small, but it’s growing rapidly.

Mobile programmatic video ad spending will total a relatively modest $1.14 billion this year, but eMarketer estimates that those expenditures will more than double by 2016 — and location ad network Thinknear is working to position itself to capture those dollars by layering in its place-based targeting.

The Telenav-owned company plans to do that by rolling out Thinknear GeoVideo, its first dedicated programmatic video targeting program.

“Mobile video has quickly become one of the most important endeavors for digital marketers. More and more video content is consumed on mobile devices but the challenge is reaching the right audience,” said Loren Hillberg, Thinknear’s president, in a statement. “Coupling video with the unique targeting capabilities offered by location data, we can offer marketers the ability to deliver high-quality, VAST-compliant content to specifically targeted audiences at the right time.”

Thinknear's Loren Hillberg
Thinknear’s Loren Hillberg

Small, But Significant

By the counts of most online marketing analysts, mobile and video ad spending have been growing by double digits for the last several years. But as eMarketer points out, the share of total mobile programmatic ad spending will remain small, reaching just 18.5 percent by 2017.

Leaving the grand scheme of things aside, mobile video comprised 55 percent of mobile data usage by the end of 2014, Thinknear notes, citing Cisco’s 2015 Mobile Forecast. That all portends a tremendous growth opportunity, particularly for the companies that can establish themselves as providing the intersection of video, mobile, and location.

In a larger sense, Thinknear’s move toward a programmatic video product also reflects the shift away from the traditional ad network model that relies on slicing segments of publishers’ (mobile app developers included) audiences along broad demographic lines toward a more real-time, data-driven form of serving ads to consumers.

CakeWorks' Rebecca-Paoletti
CakeWorks’ Rebecca Paoletti

Enlarging The Mobile Ad Net Model

In the mobile ad net realm, from which companies like Verve Mobile, xAd, and NinthDecimal have emerged from, the traditional form of place-based targeting was limited to IP-based ZIP code or designated market area (DMA) levels. It’s worth pointing out that xAd, which is now generally described as a location marketplace, has just struck partnerships with ad exchange players like demand-side platform Adelphic and programmatic services provider The Rubicon Project.

Thinknear GeoVideo promises to update the more general place-based ad serving by targeting across all mobile in-stream inventory with its “scored” Geofencing, GeoAudience, and GeoBehavioral targeting products.

Thinknear GeoVideo will be served across Thinknear’s network of 45,000 programmatic app/publisher partners. Part of the appeal of video is that viewing comes with natural breaks, unlike other kinds of online content. The autoplay pre-roll and in-stream videos will launch during those “viewing breaks,” such as when a user changes levels in a game, navigates to a new feature in an app, or transitioning to a new piece of content.

While the addition of video location targeting tools represents a significant expansion from Thinknear’s existing mobile ad focus, it also puts it in competition with more general programmatic video ad providers, such as video demand-side platform TubeMogul, which ran Quiznos’ first video/geo-targeted campaign earlier this year.

“Connecting targeted audiences to engaging video content is not only a highly attractive value proposition for marketers, but with added specificity around demographics, interests and location, highly relevant and useful to consumers themselves,” said Rebecca Paoletti, CEO of video ad consultancy CakeWorks.

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.