2016 saw a milestone for the digital age: the dawn of the smartphone-dominant era. Mobile now dominates search, display, time spent online, ecommerce and digital adspend. The smartphone is king.
As the first on the line battling for consumers’ attention, marketers and advertisers need to adapt quickly and effectively to a major audience shift like this one. But thus far, mobile ad targeting has trailed woefully behind its desktop counterpart. And a poorly-targeted ad is about as useful as no ad at all.
GridQuire is solving this problem with its smart, personalized and adaptable mobile ad targeting algorithm. After starting off catering to personal attorney injuries seeking new clients, they have quickly expanded to six additional verticals, plus a customizable white label offer to get your message on mobile in the right place, at the right time, in the right hands.
We spoke to GridQuire’s founder and CEO Andrew Katz and COO Marty Fleischmann about how their ads actually reach customers, their mostly-bootstrapped revenue model, and what sport you need to brush up on for a job interview with their team.
GridQuire delivers mobile marketing’s holy grail, getting the right mobile ad message to the right devices in the right place at the right time. We combine precise location knowledge with a dozen variables of behavioral intelligence to deliver these ads to the best targets. Then we can retarget the audience of devices sharing a similar profile (maybe all were at a sports stadium, or at a Home Depot) to deliver ads wherever they go later. Basically our platform aggregates all the ad exchange data to allow us to cherry pick just the demographics (age, gender, language) and behaviors (apps to be on or filter out, cell plan type, movement) within any geography or collected audience.
What problem are you solving?
Marketers are always looking to better target to their desired audience. Nielson first measured TV demographics, Google led the movement toward search ads (Adwords) and contextual ads (Adsense), and Facebook recently drove a major migration in spend to social with behaviorally-focused ad targeting. All could target geographically, and digital ads could cookie and retarget browsers later for better relevance, but folks increasingly became tied to their phones.
Mobile ads have mostly been stuck being able to only roughly geotarget. Our platform aggregates data from all the ad exchanges and select publishers with precise location info, so we can place the right ads on just the phones and in just the applications that meet criteria the client wants. Then we can also retarget those people wherever they go later.
Funding or bootstrapped?
A little early funding, but mostly organic cashflow from sales. We may raise a round later in 2017 if it’s strategic to growth.
What is your revenue model?
We charge a cost per impression (CPM) based on how many targeted impressions we believe are available and the pricing we need to bid to win a good share of them. We also have in-house graphics development to create compelling ads or can run A/B testing.
How did you come up with this idea? Did it change or evolve as you grew/developed?
Andy’s background made him sensitive to needs he saw with high advertising costs. For example, he knew several large personal injury law firms that pay outlandishly high rates in Google Adwords. He met with some amazing Israeli developers at the forefront of homeland security/mobile mapping technology to create the platform, and signed on some eager, large early customers.
After bringing on more and more PI firms he created new verticals in sports and politics, then brought on a few significant Forture 500 brands in mid-2016. He created more verticals in auto and healthcare, then brought on Kevin and Marty to develop new use cases, go after bigger brands, and grow processes. Our goal is to scale GridQuire smoothly and quickly from $2M to $20M, then beyond to industry leadership.
Who are your competitors and why do you stand out?
There are a handful of other platforms that are trying to go beyond mere geofencing to more advanced mobile targeting, but none are collecting or using nearly as much meaningful data to actually help target campaign buys. Nor do they have the flexibility to filter on any ad data variable like GridQuire can across all exchanges at once.
What has been one of your most exciting successes?
A recent ad implementation at a Cowboys-Packers football game for an auto dealer is a great example of how Gridquire can add unique value to our clients. The Sam Pack North Texas Ford dealers have a limited edition “Dallas Cowboys F-150” literally endorsed by Jerry Jones. They had done very little, if any, promotion or advertising around these vehicles. They decided to grid AT&T Stadium during a game against the Packers with an ad promoting the car.
This was not only an example of a great ad appearing on a premier piece of inventory during a weather event in North Texas, but also a sound strategy behind placing the right ad in front of the right intenders. In this case, Dallas Cowboys fans were served an ad for a specialty, Cowboys-related vehicle, while at a Cowboys game.
How does Atlanta and/or the southeast weave into your story?
We are all from Atlanta, love living here, and developed this company with Atlanta clients while at the Atlanta Technology Village. We left the nest in October to move into our own offices in West Midtown, another vibrant area that fits the fun-loving and dynamic culture we’re building. We would love to be a big success story that brings attention to Atlanta as a mobile tech power.
Biggest focus for 2017?
To keep growing strongly on both top line and bottom lines by doing an outstanding job getting our clients better returns on their marketing investments. We’ll need to do this with more and more high quality people who strengthen our fun culture. We are currently hiring sales, sales support and technical resources.
To potential candidates: we play some very competitive doubles ping-pong in a volleyball-like set-up-your-teammate-to-slam style. Being able to quickly understand how the game is played and scored is often part of the interview process!