Location-based Ad Firm Adcentricity Acquired by Bee Media

Toronto-based Bee Media announced the acquisition of location-based media startup Adcentricity today for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Bee Media will take on Adcentricity’s name and branding, as it combines the focuses of the two companies into an overarching mobile advertising and shopping platform designed to capitalize on recent trends in how consumers shop with their connected devices.

Adcentricity CMO David Peres, who occupied the same role at Bee Media prior to the acquisition, said that the deal made sense to the purchasing company because after working with Adcentricity for six months as a strategic partner, their aims aligned.

“Our goal is to become the leader in delivering location-based advertising to consumers while they are on the go or even sitting on the couch,” he said. “At Bee Media we were building a very unique and robust mobile shopping platform and Adcentricity had an impressive platform that seamlessly delivered advertising across the sphere of digital channels to over 250,000 location-based screens in 16 different venues and 55+ sub-categories.” Peres said the two companies felt both goals would be better-served working together.

“What attracted us most about Adcentricity was the platform they built to plan, target, format and measure location-based digital media,” he said, referring to th company’s three-part mobile ad solution. That will now become a product called AdCentral, which helps media buyers plan campaigns based on digital signage inventory and consumer behavior targeting, and eases multi-device reach using cross-platform compatible standards.

The company chose to keep the Adcentricity name because of its established reputation in the business of online advertising, Peres said, but Bee Media’s mobile shopping platform will be integrated into its offerings under the name “ADMobile,” which he says is a white label mobile shopping platform aimed at retailers, financial institutions, loyalty program operators and telecommunications companies.

Location-based advertising is something that a lot of businesses are hoping will pay big dividends, and with good reason; it makes sense that advertising that takes into account contextual information, like where a shopper or user is based, will be more effective than non-targeted advertising that’s more broadly aimed. There’s some reason to suggest that’s not the case, however.

In August 2011, Poynter featured an article that gathered data suggesting consumers weren’t as open to receiving location-based marketing as reports seem to suggest, and argued that shoppers respond much better to marketing tailored to their interests and taste graph. Peres said in our interview that the new Adcentricity approach benefits from offering not just location-based ads, but immediate conversion opportunities resulting from those campaigns.

“Our mobile shopping platform not only delivers offers and coupons to consumers on their smartphones when they are in close proximity to a deal or their favourite retailer,” he said. “We also have contactless mobile redemption, scanning and payment built in to the platform.” That combination, Peres said, is the “holy grail” of location-based marketing.

Peres also said the acquisition will help the new Adcentricity be better positioned to capitalize on the emerging trend of mobile payment technology, noting that ADMobile already integrates with MiiScan‘s QR code-based mobile payment methods.

The acquisition is a sign that the location-based mobile marketing space is hot, but just like mobile payments, the industry has yet to truly take form and demonstrate that it can reach the average consumer in a way that meets or exceeds older ways of doing things. Still, Adcentricity is now better-positioned to ride the wave of both new technology trends, when and should they reach critical mass.

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