Verve Raises $7M, Studies Mobile ‘Paradox’ for Old Media Customers

3/21/12Follow @bvbigelow

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understand the market—and to help educate its traditional media customers. “We are focused on the intersection of local and mobile as it relates to consumer habits, and helping national and local advertisers reach these consumers in direct and meaningful ways.”

The market is a paradox, according to data that Hallinan cites from a mobile analytics firm called Flurry: “People spend 23 percent of their time on mobile devices—second only to TV at 40 percent. And yet mobile is only getting about 1 percent of ad budget spend, compared to TV getting 43 percent. The only medium that exceeded mobile was print—but in the other direction: print gets 29 percent of ad spend, but accounts for only 6 percent of people’s leisure time.”

The paradox represents a significant challenge for Verve, and Hallinan says, “The question becomes how does traditional media monetize that content?”

As a result, Verve has been conducting quarterly studies to help its national advertising clients and media partners understand consumer interests and their mobile usage patterns. In particular, the studies are focused on how consumers use their mobile devices to make purchasing decisions.

For example, a recent study Verve conducted for car dealers (who are major advertisers in local media) found that 71 percent of the people using the Verve network are open to using their mobile devices to guide them through the research phase of buying a car. (The three top categories for auto-related mobile search are: model, 40 percent; vehicle features and photos, 38 percent; and dealership locations, 25 percent.)

In another case study, Verve says mobile advertising campaigns done for RadioShack over the 2011 holiday season targeted consumers who were nearing the end of their mobile phone contract cycle with location-centric offers to drive sales of new mobile phones and accessories at local RadioShack stores.

“Advertisers follow the audience,” Hallinan says. “And nearly half of the U.S. population is using some kind of smart phone.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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