Where Launches 'Hyper-Local' Ad Network

uLocate, which operates popular mobile site/app Where, has launched WHERE Ads, which it's positioning as a new "hyper-local" ad network. Last week I spoke to Where marketing kingpin Dan Gilmartin about it.

Gilmartin told me this initiative grew out of the company's (and it's users') frustration with conventional mobile display advertising and third party networks that too often supplied ad inventory wasn't very relevant, he said. The company has thus created its own solution and is going to make it available to third parties. As part of that Where also distributes local ads from other networks and sites (e.g., CityGrid).

The ads are geographically and usually contextually relevant. They appear at the bottom of pages, fairly unobtrusively -- one might even argue almost too unobtrusively:

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The release says that "Click Through Rates (CTR) on WHERE Ads has exceeded other mobile ads by as much as three times." Gilmartin discussed this better performance during the trial period with me fairly extensively during our earlier call.

I'm narrowly avoiding the cliche that relevant ads are "content" when I say these ads don't appear to be "ads" because of their immediate relevance to the category and location. Although they're not contextually relevant all the time. (I don't recall if there's behavioral targeting going on however.)

The more relevant the ads the more consumers will respond; it's pretty simple.

The general challenge has been getting the LBS inventory to provide enough fill. Now, networks such as CityGrid, V-Enable and Where are providing more specific LBS ("hyper-local") ad inventory, beyond the more conventional geotargeted inventory from traditional mobile ad networks. 

Dan Gilmartin will be on my panel on LBS monetization at Where 2.0 on April 1. Also on the panel will be Google, Placecast, de Carta, and Citysearch