Location-based ad provider JiWire has acquired mobile technology firm NearbyNow as it strives to create new ad products that go beyond the "check-in."
NearbyNow's technology enables brands to present users with detailed retail-related location-based information, such as whether or not products or services are available at a nearby store or outlet, and will even let users reserve inventory to pick up later. To date the company has focused its technology on retailers, but JiWire says it intends to integrate and adapt it to provide opportunities to advertisers across other verticals.
"Location-based marketing is moving beyond just a location or a check-in. It's about understanding the context of a location, user behaviors, and where people go to get what they need," JiWire's SVP of Marketing David Staas told ClickZ. According to Staas, the companies are already working on location-based offerings incorporating technology from both of their platforms.
The acquisition will grant JiWire access to the three million monthly users currently interacting with mobile apps from brands such as GQ and Reebok - in which NearbyNow's technology is currently installed. It will also potentially expose NearbyNow's offerings to the 35 million unique users JiWire claims to reach a month.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
According to NearbyNow, an average of almost 6 percent of users that clicked through on its ads to check product availability convert to a purchase, and the units themselves have seen click-through rates of 20 percent in some instances.
"Historically NearbyNow has been very good at proving a location-based app has driven an actual in-store purchase, but we didn't really have an answer for scale," said Scott Dunlap, founder of the Mountain View, CA, based NearbyNow and new vice president of mobile business development at JiWire. "Now we'll be able to present a package for advertisers that represents reach. Unless you have scale you can't get those national ad dollars," he said.
When compared with other location-based marketing service providers such as Foursquare, Staas suggested the approach of those companies is somewhat limited. "The opportunity for us is how do you connect with users beyond just a check in, and create an opportunity for advertisers to reach new people. The check-in approach can be effective, but you're often marketing to existing customers," he said.
JiWire, which is based in San Francisco, already offers a repertoire of location-based services to which NearbyNow's will be added, including the ability to target mobile display ads to users in a geo-fenced area, and a range of products based around its network of Wi-Fi hotspots.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.