Opera and Unacast Partnership Finally Connects Advertisers to Global Beacon Data at Scale

March 2, 2016
Thomas Walle
CEO & Co-Founder

Big day today! We announced our partnership with Opera Mediaworks, the world’s largest, independent mobile ad platform. For the first time, advertisers will have access to beacon and proximity data, at scale, from the Unacast PROX Network. The Unacast PROX network is growing rapidly and currently consists of over 40 proximity companies from all over the globe and over one million sensors. By the end of 2016 the network will be 100 companies strong.

With this landmark deal, I want to elaborate on why we are excited about this partnership and the new opportunities within proximity marketing and online advertising it opens up.

1. Extension of proximity campaign, retarget users online to bring them back to store

With already 4 million beacons deployed globally, according to The Proxbook Report Q4, the proximity and beacon market is growing rapidly towards the projected 400 million in 2020. Proximity marketing has until now mainly been focusing on hyper-local communication to customers when they enter a physical location; the Unacast and Opera partnership opens up a new and very exciting opportunity.

Retailers and brands that have already deployed beacons can now retarget their own customers online with laser precision to encourage them to return to the store or visit their e-commerce site.

By reversing the flow of data, advertisers can now also know the effect of digital advertising by accurately measuring the amount of people revisiting the physical location after seeing a particular ad.

This creates a new dimension in proximity marketing, an entirely new opportunity within online advertising and a much more holistic customer experience. We call it “continued engagement”.

2. GPS data is inaccurate, proximity data is not

To understand a consumer’s physical movement and intent advertisers are increasingly demanding location data to run smarter advertising campaigns. A digital segment or a profile is not enough. Knowing where people have been in the real world is being equally, if not more, important to ensure the message reaches the right person.

The challenge with today's location data is that it's inaccurate. Until now, the advertising industry has relied heavily on GPS data as the primary location data source. In this article, Marcus D. Collins, a scientist at Placed, argues that less than 1% of the location data from ad exchanges is accurate enough to help marketers understand people’s movements in the real world.

GPS data is imprecise in nature and especially indoors. This is where proximity and beacon data is revolutionary. Proximity data, like from beacons,  is far more accurate than GPS and is ideal for indoor location mapping; registering consumer behavior down to a precise aisle, shelf or product. This data will now be used to serve more targeted and relevant ads.

3. A scalable way to proximity data

Proxbook, the world's largest directory of beacon and proximity companies, lists more than 270 companies. Within just a few years, the proximity industry has grown to a vast number of companies, focusing on various geographies and verticals. This introduces fragmentation and complexity for media platforms and made it challenging to scale the use of proximity data. Unacast is solving this issue for the entire advertising industry, as we aggregate, standardize and tag data from our proximity companies in our Unacast PROX network, now totaling 43 companies.

By working with Unacast, beacon and proximity companies don't have to think about how they collect, and tag proximity data and Opera doesn't have to think about how to aggregate the data. Unacast solves this through our taxonomy and tagging structure; in effect creating the joint language of proximity data.

4. More relevant communication equals less ad blocking

The last topic I´d like to bring up is ad blocking, a hot topic these days. More than $22 billion in global ad revenues was blocked in 2015, and one of the key drivers for users to block ads is  high quantity and low quality of ads. In other words, people are using ad blockers because they find ads irrelevant. As ads displayed to users are dominantly based on their online behavior, which accounts for 30% of their awake time. Advertisers are missing out on the remaining 70% - where users spend their time in the real world. Proximity data covers that remaining 70%.

Ads are the fuel in a free internet economy, and proximity data, the most accurate offline data set, will play a huge role in enabling ads to be more relevant, less spammy and in overall improving the user's advertising experience.

In Unacast we believe the difference between advertising and communication is relevance, and with aggregated proximity data from Unacast, Opera is now taking a significant step towards that increased relevance. We are happy and proud to support Opera on that journey.