Location-based mobile advertising agency Verve Mobile, which specializes in geo-targeted and geo-fenced campaigns, has boosted its coffers yet again with a third round of venture funding led by Nokia Growth Partners and Qualcomm.
Other investors included BlueRun Ventures, a regular funder of up-and-coming mobile advertising agencies, and this latest $14 million cash injection brings Verve’s total investment to at least $21 million (the company secured $7 million from BlueRun in the previous round, so $21 million is probably a conservative estimate). In the world of mobile phones advertising, this agency is clearly doing something right.
A mobile star rises
Just take a look at the stats: the agency’s network attracts 108 million uniques every month and can now claim bragging rights over 6 billion monthly impressions. Compare that with one of the really big guys, publicly traded mobile advertising firm Millennial Media: it made over $47.4 million in revenue last year when it hit 380 million uniques in Q3. That’s not a bad comparison for a rising firm that started life in 2005 – the era that saw the birth of a wave of mobile ad firms like AdMob (now owned by Google) and Quattro (now owned by Apple). Verve is still owned by itself.
Verve claims that its location based technology is the secret to its success. It lets advertisers geo-fence their campaigns or target their ads to tightly limited geographical areas. A banner ad campaign by Verve for a Texas grocery chain raised the clickthrough rate by 4 per cent by putting the customer’s distance from the nearest store into the commercial’s creative.
Similarly, a campaign for H&M focusing on its David Beckham-branded wear geo-fenced the ads to three cities: New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Like the Texas example, customers were invited to go visit the nearest store.
The geo-targeting success story
The location-targeting feature developed by Verve can more than double a mobile ad campaign’s effectiveness, the company claims. The industry average for mobile ads is a clickthrough rate of 0.4 per cent; Verve’s geo-targeted campaigns hike this to around 1 per cent.
A sign of the firm’s success can be seen in the number of offices it now has: they can be found in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C.