Tore Tellefsen, vice president of program management, explains that Admira gathers data on viewing habits from set-top boxes and correlates it with available demographic information. The results allow the company to suggest additional programs to advertisers that would reach the desired demographic. Though the technology can’t target specific ads to individual people in the home, he says, it can track the behavior of groups of people, direct ads toward those groups, and measure how these groups respond. Advertisers can add interactive capabilities directed at specific audiences. For example, Teleffsen says, Seven-Eleven Hawaii recently offered viewers the chance to enter their mobile-phone numbers through their set-top boxes in order to receive a text message containing a coupon.
Ajay Bam, cofounder of Modiv Media, a company that specializes in marketing through mobile phones, said that as carriers launch data plans that allow users to do more on their phones with fewer fees, there are huge opportunities for companies to add content and advertise to those devices. The continued challenge, he said, lies in making users aware of what they can get through their phones. Neeraj Agrawal, a general partner with Battery Ventures, said at the conference that finding ways to target advertising beyond the Internet is “a huge problem area,” with plenty of room for new companies and new technologies. In reference to Navic Networks, he noted that “turning traditional media into a more performance-oriented environment is a good wave to ride.”
A few companies at Venture Summit East were working on technologies to unify targeted advertising campaigns, so that advertisers could pursue the same audience through their televisions, computers, and mobile phones. A company called ioGlobal, for example, was working on a platform layer that, among other things, would allow advertisers to build applications that rely on behavioral and demographic data and deploy them across television, the Internet, and mobile devices without having to adjust for different media. Access 360 Media also reported working on unified campaigns that would target young adults, sending coordinated ads through screens located in stores, as well as a variety of other devices. Lon Otremba, CEO of Access, noted that, as people get used to accessing content in a variety of media-rich, personalized ways, advertising needs to keep pace with those trends, particularly if it wishes to keep the attention of younger audiences.