LocalResponse announced some big news today in the way of every startup’s favorite word: monetization! (Well, it might be your least favorite if your name rhymes, say, with Shmumblr). The advertising platform, which helps marketers make good on real-time consumer intent by mining mentions and location-enabled check-ins on Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla and the like, is now offering an “analytics and action platform for marketers.”
In the past, LocalResponse has managed fly-over state friendly campaigns for clients like Walgreens. Consumers who checked-in to Walgreens on Foursquare or merely tweeted “I’m at Walgreens” or even “I’m going to Walgreens,” got a tweet back directly from the store offering promotions and coupons. Click-through rates for that that kind of offering are more than 50 percent, a good 20 times that of other direct response marketing campaigns, says the startup.
The secret sauce of LocalResponse’s approach to social media deluge is that the company is able to analyze both implicit and explicit check-ins. “No one is using semantic NLP (natural language parsing) to extract the implicit ‘check-in’ or presence—in fact we have a patent pending on this process,” LocalResponse CEO Nihal Mehta told Betabeat. “Sprout Social, Tweetdeck, SocialFlow all operate on generic mentions, instead of ‘presence’ like LocalResponse does,” he added. Data from Foursquare, who is also trying get in on the ad game, is only two percent of LocalResponse’s data set. “The vast majority comes from people mentioning they are at places or doing things on Twitter itself!” he said.
That level of analysis also helps LocalResponse target mobile display ads based on a consumer’s intent and even “relevant sentiment.” Intuit, another client, used LocalResponse to send TurboTax banner ads to people who kvetched about doing taxes on Twitter. In that case, they improved ten fold on your average online display ad, with a 1 percent click-through.
Betabeat was most intrigued by the company’s ability to make use of a “competitive check-in.” Does that if you check into Burger King, McDonald’s (another LocalResponse client) will send you a coupon?? “If you check into Burger King, we would NOT have McDonald’s send you a tweet back. We feel this is spammy to the user,” Mr. Mehta assured us by email. “Instead we would retarget that check-in across mobile/web display. In other words, if you publicly check into BK, the next time you go to the web, don’t be surprised to see a banner ad for McD’s!”
The move towards an analytics dashboard doesn’t surprise us. Last April when LocalResponse was pivoting away from Buzzd, a city guide that used social media to show you what was trending, Mr. Mehta told Betabeat, “Our data is more valuable to local merchants and brands than to the consumer.”
So does this mean the dashboard will be a bigger part of the company’s long-term revenue strategy? “YES of course,” Mr. Mehta responded, emphatically. “And that is why we are launching the Pro Dashboard, where brands and agencies want to see all the data on their customers, across gender/DMA/age/klout/etc. and then utilize the tool to respond back to them on a 1:1 basis.”
Expect more advertisers to join the likes of LocalResponse’s impressive client list: Audi, Coca-Cola, Dell, Estee Lauder, FedEx, General Electric, General Mills, General Motors, H&M, Hersheys, Kmart, Lowes, McDonald’s, NBC-Universal, Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Verizon, and Walgreens.