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INNOVATION Mobile messenger SITO can deliver the right ad at the right time on your phone

Jon Lowen, executive vice president of operations and product development, Sito Mobile.-(PHOTOS BY AARON HOUSTON)

Nestled on the Jersey City waterfront, SITO Mobile’s team of techies and marketing masterminds toil away tweaking dashboards, endlessly analyzing geolocal mobile data and tracking consumers’ movements across the country.

For everyone using smartphones or tablets, chances are SITO knows where they shop and eat, what apps they use and how influential each mobile ad has been on their purchasing decisions.

From behind these incredibly revealing dashboards, SITO Mobile employees have coded and monitored their way to grow the company to reach a $45 million market cap and earn a spot on NASDAQ in less than two years.

SITO Mobile was born in 2014, when Single Touch Systems Inc. acquired DoubleVision Networks and rebranded. The new mobile media business started with $2 million in revenue in 2014. Since then, the mobile media business has grown six times in 2015 and is targeted for continued strong growth this year.

The tech company provides advertisers with a platform that has the ability to target consumers through their mobile devices based on location behaviors. With this service, brands can target marketing messages and ads to possible customers based on their real-time location.

While SITO serves all sizes and types of businesses, mega-brands such as McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Honda, and Samsung are just a few of its clients.

SITO’s technology works to improve the effectiveness of mobile advertising campaigns in two ways.

First, when users check their apps at a specific location, brands can buy ads within that app and provide messaging for a nearby location. For example, if a consumer is at a Toyota dealership and checks his fantasy baseball app, he might see an ad for a Honda offer available at dealership a mile down the highway.

“Our focus is built on location because that is what is unique about mobile,” said Jon Lowen, executive vice president of operations and product development. “Your mobile device is on you 24/7. You access your phone more than 100 times per day.

“Our goal is to reach consumers where and when it matters most, so we can help our advertisers move mobile users into the purchase cycle or keep their brand top of mind when they are at the point of purchase.”

Second, SITO continues to analyze that mobile consumer’s behavior after the message is delivered. SITO can track whether a person who has seen an ad acted on it by walking into that store or restaurant within a specified time period.

It also can provide metrics around whether that consumer makes a purchase.

This tracking is done in real time so marketers can see ad campaigns immediately and compare effectiveness across locations.

SITO is connected with more than 200,000 apps and reaches 95 percent of smartphone and tablet users in U.S. and Canada.

Because many app developers don’t have their own sales teams, they monetize their properties through app aggregation networks. SITO taps into those aggregation networks to bid on buying ad space based on user location in real time.

“We bid on ad inventory in real time in the same way traders bid on the stock exchange,” Lowen said. “We don’t have to buy space on each individual app. Instead, we go to the aggregators and buy ad space based on the parameters that are important to our clients. We buy based on user location and whether or not the user has been to a client’s location before.”

Lowen said interest in mobile advertising is on the rise because companies can get more robust analytics from a mobile campaign than they can with most other advertising media. Advertisers can access more data from a mobile user because of the amount of activity SITO can track and because they have the ability to reach consumers multiple times in a targeted way.

According to a report by eMarketer, mobile advertising spend will exceed $100 billion globally in 2016.

“In terms of where people are spending their time, mobile is surpassing TV, radio and print even online,” Lowen said. “So, it’s important for advertisers to be present where people are spending their time.”

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On Twitter: @dariameoli

Daria Meoli

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