Blis wants to help make digital advertising more effective

  • Tracks and collates location data from 1.2bil unique devices
  • In APAC, advertisers still lag behind digital consumers
Blis wants to help make digital advertising more effective

ADVERTISERS and marketers are still struggling to try and understand their audience, and they spend much money on focus groups and demographic reports – but few are taking advantage of the global mobile and smartphone revolution to do this.
This is where mobile location and behavioural advertising startup Blis hopes to make a difference, by offering companies insights and reach into their key demographics, according to chief executive officer Greg Isbister (pic above).
“We see location data from 1.2 billion unique devices every month – we take that data to try and understand where that device is, with context, ,” he says in a recent conversation with Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore.
“What we are doing over time is understanding where the devices are, and more importantly, where they go, which allows us to understand different consumers’ location behaviour,” he adds.
The London-headquartered startup says it sees over 20,000 ‘location events’ per second on its platform. It anonymises the data on a group level to better understand consumer behaviour.
“Today, that data is used by marketers and advertisers who want to reach a certain audience,” says Isbister.
“For example, you might look at an affluent travelling audience as someone who commutes through Changi Airport more than once a month, or who resides in certain condominiums, or who play in certain golf courses.
“Anything that gives us that insight, that allows advertisers to reach consumers on quite a large scale,” he adds.
Data from Blis is currently used in 52 markets. The company itself has eight offices, including Singapore and Hong Kong.
Blis currently sees “about 14 billion impressions across its platform daily,” which aids its real-time bidding advertising business, claims Isbister.
“It’s quite a high-velocity low-latency platform – we see over 200 [impressions] each second. We have got about 50 milliseconds to query this huge data set we got on location, and make a value decision on whether it matches one of our clients’ requests.
“We then place a value on it and fulfil that transaction,” he says.
Having such a huge volume of transactions, it is little wonder that business is booming for Blis, with Isbister saying it is seeing growth across the board.
The startup also recently raised a US$25-million Series B round, with investors such as Endeit Capital, Beringea US and Unilever Ventures taking part.
“The key use of the funds will be across four areas,” says Isbister, adding that these are to grow across Asia Pacific, penetrate the US market, further develop its platform, and to boost marketing.
APAC laggards
Asia Pacific has been undergoing a mobile revolution, with penetration rates for mobile phones going through the roof in some countries.
But advertisers have not caught up with the market, Isbister argues.
“Asia Pacific is a very advanced market in terms of consumer adoption, we see a big opportunity for our clients, who have started to increase their investments in digital,” he says.
But still, this has not caught up with consumer adoption.
“While consumers are seeking huge amount of content on mobile, a lot of the advertising dollars are still being invested in the traditional channels – but we are starting to see the shift,” he adds.
Related Stories:
Marketers need to prepare for ‘screenagers,’ says expert
APAC digital marketing agencies the world’s most ‘progressive’
New rules of engagement: Location tech and customer loyalty
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