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Introducing Decisive, the New York startup that aims to be the E‑Trade of mobile advertising

It’s no secret to pros with media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies that suc­cess fre­quent­ly hinges on good ana­lyt­ics as much as it relies on cre­ative tal­ent. And one of New York’s newest res­i­dents, SoHo-based mobile adver­tis­ing start­up Deci­sive, is on a mis­sion to become the E‑Trade for mobile ads. Launched last month, its plat­form lets busi­ness­es set up mobile adver­tis­ing cam­paigns and then watch the results in real-time.

Bid­ding down to the sec­ond 

Co-founder and CEO David Dun­das said that he and his team at Deci­sive “want­ed to auto­mate the cre­ation of cam­paigns for our clients.” He added, “You can see how well your cam­paign is run­ning down to the second.”

Clients get to have a whole lot more con­trol: the plat­form lets them set up bids for the spe­cif­ic audi­ences they want to reach on mobile devices (they’re cho­sen from anony­mous data, like New York iPhone users who vis­it sites like

The mar­ket­ing world is shift­ing toward pro­gram­mat­ic adver­tis­ing that’s been acti­vat­ed by the actions of the intend­ed audi­ence, Dun­das explained, like vis­it­ing a web­site or open­ing an app. For exam­ple, as soon as an app is opened, it sends a small pack­et of data to com­pa­nies like Deci­sive which puts it to work in dig­i­tal auc­tions (real-time bid­ding) that take place with­in frac­tions of a sec­ond. This lets mar­keters get their mobile adver­tis­ing efforts before the eyes of the peo­ple they want to reach at exact­ly the right moments.

Climb­ing a growth curve

Ear­ly adopters of the plat­form are pre­dom­i­nant­ly small­er busi­ness­es who need to keep a care­ful eye on their ROI for mobile adver­tis­ing cam­paigns. Deci­sive shows them how their ad dol­lars work in real-time, and Dun­das believes this has the poten­tial to attract big­ger brand names, too, who may want to spend more of their dol­lars on the kind of tar­get­ed cam­paigns the start-up’s plat­form offers.

Dun­das and his team spent the bulk of 2013 devel­op­ing the loca­tion-based Deci­sive plat­form after their research told them that clients didn’t just want to retain exist­ing cus­tomers, they want­ed to reach new ones too. They grad­u­al­ly pulled togeth­er a ros­ter of 75 clients, and Dun­das says that he and his fel­low co-founder Ryan Witt (the startup’s CTO) are aim­ing to be sustainable:

“Today we’re prof­itable and we’re grow­ing our revenue.”

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