Verve Mobile Network Reach Now Top 200 DMAs

Verve Wireless, which is behind the AP iPhone app, is both an ad network and enabling platform for local publishers and media companies. The company announced yesterday that it added a number of new publishers and publications to its mobile network:

The Chicago Sun-Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Time Out Chicago, Time Out New York and Metro International have partnered with Verve, joining the family of over 140 local media properties including eight of the largest media properties in the U.S. Verve’s local mobile network now covers the top 200 designated market areas across America.

The company has also added mobile couponing functionality:

The new mobile couponing application enables local publishers to offer their advertisers another way to reach customers. The application is based off the success of Verve’s SMS push alerts, but incorporates new functionality as well as advance targeting features that use location based technologies. Advertisers can send out coupons based on a variety of options, including time of day, neighborhood radius, user’s present location, and context, among others. And just like a print coupon, users will be able to redeem the coupon at the place of business.

There's lots of action right now in the digital coupon space, including mobile coupons. But don't think of "coupons" in the CPG sense -- think of mobile "offers" (from retailers and others). The great thing is, because redemption is at the point of sale, you have a "closed loop" transaction and can precisely measure conversions. Hypothetically, one can take a newspaper print ad and incorporate an SMS code to receive an offer/coupon that then is presented at the POS. Voila: you can measure precisely how effective that print ad was, not to mention making that print ad more dynamic. 

The following data are from one of our consumer surveys, conducted in August. What it reflects is the interest in local offers on mobile phones (but note qualifiers "local" and "you select"):

 Mobile offers

Verve started as a platform for newspaper publishers to get into mobile and is now a full-blown local mobile ad network.