Interview Exposed #22: adsquare “GeoData: Offline and Digital Will Be Bridged by Analyzing Real-World User Behavior and Linking It to Mobile Campaigns”

Welcome back to our Industry Exposed Series! This time around, we interviewed Vincent Tessier, VP Demand Partnerships at adsquare. Vincent explains how advertisers need to leverage data to ensure that they are correctly targeting the right users through value-added campaigns, and stresses the importance of ‘geodata’, as frequently-visited places is a strong indication of user preferences, interests and intentions. Lastly, he explains the necessity of ‘privacy by design’ to ensure that only the necessary data is collected and protected.

Vincent is VP Demand Partnerships at adsquare, the leading mobile Audience Management Platform. He has been on the frontline of the French digital landscape since the early 2000s, having worked at AOL, Cellfish Media, Trademob and recently at LAPLACEMEDIA. He is also known for his engagement in the mobile community with various initiatives such as his blog,, his MobileDrinks meetups and for AppDays, the largest conference about mobile and apps in France.

Can you briefly present adsquare and its business model?

adsquare is a mobile-first Audience Management Platform, founded by mobile veterans in Berlin in 2012. We completed our Series A in October 2014, have offices in 3 countries and data available in 7 EU countries. We help marketers navigate the data deluge that mobile is creating by offering a platform to activate mobile, offline and online data in order to improve mobile advertising campaigns. We sell our audience segments on a data CPM & usage basis and pay data owners via a revenue-share model.

Which problems in the mobile industry are you trying to solve? How do you differentiate yourself to other DMPs out there?

First of all, many mobile advertising campaigns still lack added consumer value, as they’re not leveraging targeting, resulting in the wrong ads being shown to the wrong people. We empower advertisers to reach exactly the right people in the crucial moment in the customer journey. Secondly, the current mobile landscape is a kind of paradox: as the ubiquitous use of mobile devices creates huge swarms of new data points, unseen on any other device (take location for example), advertisers and media agencies lack easy access to third party data such as POI, app usage, household constitution, events, weather, purchases etc. It’s only by accessing this data that media buyers can create audience segments and activate them via their preferred buying platforms. As such, adsquare’s isn’t a DMP, our offering is unique – aggregating third party data, enabling buyers to combine different data points to create unique segments and seamlessly activate these via our mobile-first Audience Management Platform.

How has adsquare adapted their business model to the specific requirements of performance advertising?

Interesting question! We all know that data is the new oil. All great Internet successes are sitting on data, from Google in search to Amazon on e-Commerce and Criteo on display advertising. Those companies are, in some way, performance-based, meaning focused on tracking every data event in order to optimize and improve conversion rates. Data, especially third party data, is at the very heart of programmatic advertising. For a lot of players, first party data is not enough, or they simply don’t have any. And, until now, there was very little third party data available on the market for mobile, and every campaign requires better targeting through data. Having said that, our products are most attractive to advertisers with branding needs, because audience buying is something very familiar to those buyers, and brands are willing to pay more if the providers can deliver better targeting and less waste. However, we think that performance players can also benefit from better targeting: who wants to watch the same Game of War video interstitial over and over?

What would be your main piece of advice for app publishers starting with their data strategy?

Publishers have tons of data, and they have to understand that it worth something, either for their own purposes or for someone else out there in the market. Platforms like adsquare are focusing on making the connection between demand and supply, with data. But, most importantly, we all know that monetizing an app can be really hard. Adding a new revenue stream from data is actually a new way to help with overall monetization strategies. Another benefit is that all publishers have to balance the user experience with the advertising pressure, in terms of capping banner, interstitials or even native ads in order to generate enough revenue. Monetizing data is not taking any inventory away and therefore avoids any ad fatigue, resulting in users more engaged with the app. All of this is part of a general industry awakening on the value of data.

In a world where data is the new oil, why makes you say that “geodata is pure petrol”?

Our technology is about building mobile audience profiles from numerous types of data, including location. Therefore, we build location-derived audiences. However, mere location without contextual data is just another signal. It is about understanding context and patterns in physical movements. By gathering the local contextual history of a user, combined with other sources, we are able to create precise audience segments. That’s why location is key, and we deeply believe that “where people go and when they go is a strong indicator of their interests, preferences and intentions”.

As VP Demand Partnerships, what is your role? What are you looking for in demand partners?

My role is very simple: educate advertisers and media agencies on the value of mobile data. We are convinced that, by applying third party data, mobile advertising will see better performance and there will be less waste. Being able to bridge offline and digital by analyzing real-world users behavior and linking that to mobile campaigns is very powerful. With our self-service platform, media traders are able to activate our product seamlessly, create audience segments in real-time and have an overview of reach and of costs. My role is to put this tool and new capabilities in every programmatic media trader’s hands in Europe.

What actions have you taken in regard to securing both users’ and app developers’ privacy?

adsquare has been built with privacy at its heart. Being based in Germany had forced us to be compliant with the world’s strongest laws and regulation about data privacy. First, we only collect opt-in data. Publishers ask their users at the moment of the install whether they are willing to share different types of data, including location. We only work with this opt-in data pool. At our end, we do not store the location data, but only the context of a user. On user identification, we only work with Apple and Google Identifier for Advertisers, which users can opt out of at anytime in order to stop being tracked. In short, we have built our company and platform with privacy by design. This approach has been awarded by the ePrivacy seal for best practice data processing, complying with the strictest EU data laws.