Thursday, September 19, 2013

Meet The 28 Most Powerful Women In Mobile Advertising: 2013 

Jim Edwards September 17, 2013

While there are plenty of influential women in the mobile ad business, most of them have CEOs above them who are male. When women are mobile adtech CEOs, it tends to be at smaller companies they founded themselves.

So here is our ranking of the most powerful female executives in the mobile ad business.

28. Kathy Leake, co-founder/CEO of LocalResponse

Leake co-founded LocalResponse with Nihal Mehta, the investor best known for his early funding of AdMob. Her profile rose this year because Mehta stepped aside as CEO to become executive chairman.

LocalResponse now has about 30 employees and has taken $8 million in funding. 

LocalResponse’s ingenious but simple offering: It’s a mobile retargeting agency that serves location-based ads based on the content of your social media actions. If you tweet that you’re hungry, you might next see a local pizza joint ad, for instance.

Twitter’s recent big moves have been to open up its advertising API (to allow companies to place ads directly into the system) and to buy MoPub, an ad network and exchange. LocalResponse has not yet been named an Ads API partner. We’d love to see LocalResponse break out of that “interesting startup” phase and get to the next level.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New York SmartCEO Announces the 2013 Future 50 Award Winners

Featuring Kathy Leake, CEO, LocalResponse, The Future 50 Awards program is the largest and most highly anticipated SmartCEO awards program of the year. This program recognizes 60 of the fastest growing companies in the area, based on a three-year average of employee and revenue growth. These companies represent the future of the region’s economy and embody the spirit of leadership and success in their industries. The winners, chosen based on applications submitted, are profiled in the December issue of New York SmartCEO magazine and celebrated at an awards reception in November. Future 50 award recipients are listed in alphabetical order, rather than ranked publicly.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Inc. 500|5000 Fastest Growing Companies

Friday, July 12, 2013

Digging Into Our History of Intent

by , Jul 8, 2013

In the early days of behavioral targeting, “recency” emerged as one of the first very rough measures of data quality and intent. With the goal of targeting those users who were closest to the bottom of the purchase funnel, knowing that a person has read content within the last 30 days related to cars, bassinets, or golf clubs was supposed to be a signal of their intent to buy. All according to the category, intent signals that were 30 or 90 days old probably indicated that a purchase had already been made and the consumer was out of the market.

But in the social space, users leave a longer and more detailed trail about their interests that marketers can use for longer-term profiling and segmentation that can be hit again and again. After all, some aspects of our tastes rarely change. Once a sci-fi loving, first-person shooter playing, “Twilight Zone” watching, Magic card aficionado, always a sci-fi loving, first-person shooter playing, “Twilight Zone” watching, Magic card aficionado…I like to say.

One of the hot local mobile platforms, LocalResponse, has been using social signals for real-time targeting now for a couple of years. The company made its name first by harvesting billions of public social media declarations (on foursquare, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and sending them Twitter messages with relevant promotions. While the platform continues to use public social signals to indicate user intent, it has expanded its message delivery to display advertising onto desktop, apps and mobile Web. You might tweet about or check in at your local gym and find a fitness-related ad in your desktop or app travels later that day.  

In a new twist on the targeting model, however, LocalResponse is finding that there is data to be mined from a longer view of social posting or what President Kathy Leake calls “historical intent.” They can look at patterns in social posts to create audience segments that are especially appealing to entertainment clients who are looking for taste groups. “These types of clients need to market throughout the year by genre,” she says. “Movie companies need to remarket to people who watched a romantic comedy in Q1 for a new release in Q4 in the same genre.”

Gaming companies especially have a need to remarket to existing customers of specific titles, since expansion packs and sequels are a central part of the business. Of course, the technique can also identify games frequenting competitive products. In the case of EA, for instance, they used historical intent to target a mobile in-app banner campaign for “Madden 13.” They identified through their social declaration people who were expressing anticipation of the annual release. But they also grabbed people posting on competitive titles as well as people signaling a taste for the NFL, the major gaming consoles and even specific NFL players.

The audience was acquired in the mobile ad exchanges and targeted mainly mobile apps. The campaign produced CTRs in the platform’s typical range of .7% to 2%. EA is a long-time client, and of course represents a category whose audience tends to be tech aware and very vocal about their entertainment tastes in the social sphere. They leave a lot of traces of their taste. “Three years ago a client like EA was mostly spending on TV and on desktop,” Leake tells me. “We see a shift from clients like these to increasingly spending in mobile.”

Longer-term, however, it seems to me this is a method of targeting and tracking that lends itself to deeper metrics than the click-through, and Leake says they are working on post-impression tracking and the like for future campaigns. It seems as if these are pools of users whose tastes and pronouncements could be tracked and more deeply understood. After all, using social signals historically lets you establish some well cookied and profiled user bases whose subsequent social behaviors and posts then can be tracked after the campaign.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ad-Tech Gold Rush Is On


Everywhere you look, people are using smartphones and other mobile devices. When you combine that with the billions of dollars spent on advertising each year, you get advertising technology. We head to Metamorphic Ventures, a venture capital fund that runs an incubator for ad-tech startups, to learn more about the sector and the new opportunities for ad-tech startups.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Inspiring Business Women Thriving in Online Marketing

By Janette Speyer and Katrina McNeill

Women have come a long way in the world of business. When we look at our role models in the online marketing industry, there are a few outstanding and inspirational influences. Today we want to share with you three successful women in online marketing who really stand out for their trailblazing achievements. These exceptional women help others in their field to find drive and motivation.

Kathy Leake


President and co-founder of LocalResponse, Kathy colleagues say that she “is a visionary in the ad targeting world.” (Business Insider). LocalResponse makes ads more relevant by listening to social conversations. Over 13 billion Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, Foursquare check-ins, article shares and clicks across social media are analyzed monthly to improve the targeting and efficacy of desktop, tablet and mobile display ads. For example, if you tweet “Just went for a run”, you might see a NIKE banner ad on your desktop minutes later. Kathy doesn’t just inspire us with her success at LocalReponse. Before LocalResponse, she was a founder and chief revenue officer at Media6Degrees, a social targeting company that took the market and drove to $20 million in revenue and $100 million valuation in two years. We suggest you follow LocalRespose on Facebook for some helpful mobile targeting tips.

An Impressive Collection

These women are not only an inspiration, but they are resources! So follow the links provided in their summaries to be well on your way to conquering the world of social media! We would love to continue the discussion about the wonderful women of online marketing with you on our social platforms, come see us on FacebookTwitter or Google+.

Monday, May 20, 2013

5 Tools Brands Can Use to Create Socially Targeted Ads


In a single day, a tech-savvy twenty-something might tweet about a yoga class, check-in at Target, ask friends on Facebook to recommend a local cafe, and post photos on Instagram from inside Whole Foods. Individually, these social media updates might not mean much. But collectively, they can be a useful tool for advertisers trying to get a deeper look inside the minds of their local customers.

Marketers hoping to capitalize on the vast amounts of data consumers post publicly online are increasingly using social media to inform their online targeting efforts. Socially targeted ads are relevant and contextual, and they’re able to carry over from mobile to desktop. Here are five tools that merchants can use to create socially targeted ads.

1. LocalResponse: Respond to social intent.
LocalResponse specializes in intent marketing, leveraging the millions of updates that consumers post on social media each day as a way to drive targeted awareness of brands. For example, companies like Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee could use LocalResponse to ensure their ads show up on the desktops of any consumers who tweet about being sleepy or tired. Similarly, a person who complains about doing his taxes on Facebook might see a TurboTax banner ad show up on his screen the next time he clicks over to LocalResponse operates on a CPM model.

Monday, May 13, 2013

It’s Never Win or Lose – It’s Always Win or Learn

BRAD KEYWELL: “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller

Nihal Mehta launched real-time city guide buzzd in 2007, raising about $4 million in venture funding and drawing about two million users. But in an era before the smartphone craze, he struggled to find a great mobile revenue model. By mid-2010, he was forced to slash his staff by more than half and personally float payroll.

While buzzd was on its deathbed, Mehta took the time to fortify the relationships he had built over the years. He persuaded investors to convert their preferred stock to common stock and reconstituted the board – all while selling them on a new product that would help connect brands almost instantly with targeted consumers.

There is no winding down for entrepreneurs. There’s only winding up. Rather than just accept defeat and pack it up, Mehta raced to figure out how to preserve capital, modify his vision and refocus his efforts.

While the media may describe your struggling company as “failing,” the only way you can truly fail is by bringing your venture to a complete stop. You should try to never hit zero mph – just slow down the pace enough to catch your breath and gather all the hard work, talent, relationships and personal equity that you have worked so hard to build. Then take all that you can gather from the startup experience of disrupting a targeted industry and figure out how those assets can best be used to build something new.

Mehta did just that. LocalResponse rose from buzzd’s ashes, raising an estimated $7 million in 2011. And now major companies — ranging from Coca-Cola to McDonald’s to GMC — use LocalResponse in harmony with social media to find and reach potential customers. For example, if someone tweets about being hungry, an ad for Pizza Hut appears. Or if someone posts a status update about hating tax season, a TurboTax ad shows up on their screen.

Can’t figure out how to pivot from a less-than-successful trajectory into a more promising business model? The real asset you could be sitting on is a talented and harmonious technology team — a team that could work miracles as part of another organization. Consider being acquired, because it’s rare to find the trifecta of great talent, people and teamwork in one place. Just look at Yahoo. Last week it bought MileWise and GoPollGo, just to have them shut down and roll their staff into the Yahoo mobile team. Yahoo did the same thing last year when it acquired Stamped, and it spent millions of dollars to retain all but one of the staff at San Francisco’s Web clipping startup, Others, such as Facebook, are also in the market for buying the talent and tech percolating from the startup world, so don’t write off acquisitions when trying to salvage your efforts.

The personal investment you make in your company should pay entrepreneurial dividends, regardless of whether you make millions or don’t make much money at all. Do not allow your startup relationships to voluntarily dissolve with your corporation. There is a reason people believed in you as an entrepreneur, and your job is to harness that entrepreneurial spark even if your current venture is not a champion. Every successful entrepreneur and investor knows that it’s never win or lose — it’s always win or learn.

Friday, May 3, 2013

LocalResponse’s socially-targeted ads pay off big with revenue up 716%

May 2, 2013

Devindra Hardawar

LocalResponse’s pitch is simple, but ingenious for the ad set: it combs social media data to better targets ads on mobile devices and desktops. That means more interesting ads for you, and hopefully better conversions for advertisers (especially those struggling to figure out how to make mobile ads work).

The social focus seems to be paying off for the company, as it announced today that its first quarter revenues increased 716 percent from last year. That’s particularly notable, since its revenues for January 2012 ended up equaling its sales for all of 2011.

“There’s been this hunt for [ad] inventory that performs better and is more targeted to the end user,” said Nihal Mehta, LocalResponse’s chief executive and co-founder, in an interview with VentureBeat. “I think we are one of the few ad networks that actually really perform.”

Mehta laid out three big reasons why the company is performing so well: More brands are shifting their ad spend to digital (he predicts 2013 will be the biggest ever for digital ads); the economy is on the rebound and brands are realizing consumers are ready to spend again; and finally, consumers are more social than ever, which gives LocalResponse plenty of data when it comes to targeting.

“We make ads more relevant and more contextual through these social signals,” Mehta said. “If you tweet ‘I’m hungry,’ you could see a banner ad for Pizza Hut on your phone. If you check-in to Wal-Mart on Foursquare, you could see an ad for Target the next time you go to”

The company’s strong ad performance has attracted some big clients like State Farm and Best Buy, 19 percent of which are Fortune 100 companies. It also announced today that it’s opening an office in Los Angeles. In an ad campaign using LocalResponse’s Direct Intent Targeting, L’Oreal saw a 0.19 percent click-through rate — ten-times the typical click-through rate of around 0.02 percent.

LocalResponse competes with 33Across and SalesForce’s Marketing Cloud (built out of the remains from Buddy Media), but Mehta tells me it has built something truly unique. The company has upgraded its infrastructure to handle 10 billion social media signals a month (which is the same as Twitter’s entire capacity), and it’s also natural language processing algorithms to determine intent from social data.

Mehta felt particularly vindicated in LocalResponse’s social focus after hearing about Foursquare’s potential plans to resell check-in data to advertisers. That’s something he predicted would be huge two years ago.

For now, LocalResponse’s technology only targets ads based on an individual device’s activity (so that Foursquare check-in on your phone won’t have any impact on the desktop). Mehta revealed that the company is eventually planning to take advantage of your social media identity to enable cross-device targeting.

Since the company is so focused on ad targeting, I asked Mehta how LocalResponse could take advantage of something like Google Glass.

“Glass for us won’t be an ad interface, but it could be a data signal,” he said. For example, it could take advantage of the fact that you’re taking a lot of pictures of a particular place or product, or simply spending a lot of time looking at something. “We want to stay laser-focused on social signals. But I think it’s cool, I think it will have as much of an impact as the iPod had in the music industry and the iPhone had in the phone industry.”

LocalResponse was founded in 2010 and has received around $8 million in funding.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Focus on your value prop & execute!

Kathy is currently the President and Co-Founder of Local Response, a company that helps marketers respond to social intent. At Local Response she is responsible for positioning, go-to-market, revenue generation and general operations.

Prior to joining Local Response, Kathy was a Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Media6Degrees, a Social Targeting company. At Media6, Kathy developed the positioning, strategy and go-to-market blueprint for the company. She successfully took Media6 to market and drove the company from pre-revenue to $20 million in revenue and $100 million valuation in 2 years.

MO: How does LocalResponse work?

Kathy: LocalResponse is the first platform to help marketers respond to social intent, defined as a social media moment: a Tweet, a status update on Facebook, a photo on Instagram, a checkin to Foursquare and many more. We believe that publicly expressed intent is the strongest consumer signal for brands.

MO: Can you share with our readers a bit about the process of taking a company from ideation stage to generating significant revenue with top tier advertisers?

Kathy: it is a long and difficult road to take a company from just being an idea in a PowerPoint deck into a revenue generating business. In ad tech, we usually start with a theory about a certain type of data. We built the technology to support the theory and then we go to market and sell it to advertisers. Then you work hard to perform for your clients always, refining & fine tuning along the way.

MO: What advice would you give to a startup seeking investment?

Kathy: Do your homework on the types of companies a particular VC has invested in, in the past. It will save you a mountain of time to seek investment from a VC that understands your business from the outset.

MO: Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from? What was the first business that you ever helped launched and what early lessons did you learn?

Kathy: I think from my drive to control my own destiny. My first business was launched in 2007. I learned that you have to take a leap of faith and be willing to take risks to be an entrepreneur. In my business 90% of start-ups fail, so having a unique offering isn’t enough. You have to have the right team, solid technology and passion to succeed.

MO: How do you bring ideas to life?

Kathy: Passion for what you are doing is key to bringing ideas to life. That and believing in what you are doing (both in the idea and yourself) is the only way to bring an idea to life.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

Kathy: Professionally, building and scaling my company in 2013. It’s an exciting time in the lifecycle of a start-up. Personally, continuing to try and balance home, family, baby, health and work!