Verve Mobile Capitalizes on Mobile’s National into Local Spending Trend

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Verve Mobile’s CEO Tom MacIsaac is bullish on local publishers’ ability to drive this revenue growth by selling local audiences not just to local advertisers but also to national brands seeking access to local audiences in a trusted context, through partners like Verve.

The secret sauce is Verve’s ability to deliver quality location-based audiences into a system in a way that creates premium mobile CPM values for both local and national mobile inventory by linking to high quality, local branded content. MacIsaac recently shared his views with BIA/Kelsey on where he sees the future of mobile and where he sees drivers and challenges.

MacIsaac concurs with BIA/Kelsey’s forecast of a flip from 60 percent/40 percent national/local mobile spending over the next few years. BIA/Kelsey’s mobile forecast predicts that from 2012-2016 the national/local split in mobile spending will reach 58 percent local for a total local spend of $5.8 billion as national brands continue to find more sales lift in their local initiatives.

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Verve Mobile works with over 3,500 publishers and has achieved a level of dominance in the local mobile industry. MacIsaac revealed that the company is targeting $45 million in revenue in 2013, up 80 percent from $25 million this year. Generally, mobile display inventory pricing has lagged both PC display inventory in terms of CPM and CPC even as audience usage has increased dramatically. But, according to MacIsaac, premium pricing for mobile is available today through creating a quality context for advertisers through a combination of trusted, local content and accurate location data for audiences consuming that content.

Verve’s CMO, Greg Hallinan, also spoke to this at BIA/Kelsey’s ILM West 2012 conference held last week in Los Angeles. Verve’s Location Service combines location data with location context to customize the ad execution and creative to maximize relevance to audiences and advertisers.

MacIsaac offered a success formula for local publishers that is simple in concept but difficult in execution. Premium pricing in local mobile inventory will come through local sales forces that are focused on digital products; are driven by incentive compensation to close mobile sales; and by high quality content consumed by audiences that can be geo-located and served in a way that delivers local audiences not only to local advertisers but also sold to national brands seeking access to those local audiences.

“This is a win-win proposition that allows us to write bigger checks to our partners than the ones they write to us. For local publishers who use the Verve mobile publishing platform, we aren’t just a vendor on the cost side of the equation, we’re a partner building incremental revenue,” MacIsaac said. “We have some intellectual property in the works that will further improve our ability to offer even more accurate location targeting of our mobile audiences and maintain the high CPM’s we’ve generated from national advertisers seeking local audiences.”

BIA/Kelsey’s viewpoint is that local mobile ad inventory has such high potential value to national and local advertisers because it is the only medium that increasing is “always on and always there.” Mobile delivers audiences to advertisers that have a “time and place” context that offers a premium utility value to advertisers that will continue to be unlocked in inventory pricing as mobile location sensing and ad network technology continues to improve.

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