Factual Helps App Developers Personalize The Mobile Experience

Mark Boyd
Jul. 10 2013, 12:00PM EDT

Location data platform Factual has today released two new services - previously described by industry leaders as personalization APIs – that will enable developers to create a more intimate, contextual level of engagement with their mobile app users.

Part of Factual’s GeoPulse mobile product range, the new GeoPulse Audience collects time-stamped data from mobile applications to create nuanced audience profiles while GeoPulse Proximity is a high-volume, low-latency geofencing solution aimed at allowing publishers and app developers to process large amounts of location data in seconds. This allows for more targeted location-specific mobile advertising and in-app content delivery.

Speaking with ProgrammableWeb ahead of today’s launch at the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco, Tyler Bell, Head of Factual’s Local Division said:

“To date, we have had the programmatic and technical skills to deliver mobile advertising and publishing, but not the contextual data to create a topical experience for users.

With GeoPulse Audience we are creating a platform that allows personalized engagement between applications and their users.”

GeoPulse Audience allows app developers to collect timestamped geo-coordinate pairs with an anonymized user ID and to send these to Factual via a REST interface or bulk upload (or both). Factual’s GeoPulse audience service is able to return a more detailed user profile with behavioural and demographic detail as well as aggregate profiles based on segmented app audiences. App developers can then use these profiles to deliver more dynamic, personalized content to each app user.

“This solves one of the biggest problems for mobile developers and publishers. Unlike the web registration days, there is no registration when you download an app so app developers don’t know who their audience is. GeoPulse Audience is not an ad network: we take the data, create the audience profiles and return these profiles to the application. Apps can use this data to anticipate personal user needs based on their previous experiences or where they are.”

Factual has confirmed that they see this data collection as part of the implicit trust relationship between the application and the app’s users. Data is sent to Factual for use by their GeoPulse Audience service to create the audience profiles, and the profiles are returned solely to the application owner. Data sharing agreements stipulate that data must not be individually identifiable and even aggregate data is not used or sold to any third party. Any data held by Factual for use in processing is deleted after two weeks.

For now, there is no self-service solution available, unlike with Factual’s GeoPulse Contextual API which allows developers to access up to 10,000 calls per day. Tyler Bell explains:

“A REST-based API will come on top of this when we know our user needs in much greater detail. For now, developers can reach out to us. We’re really keen to develop these profiles so partners can see how well we perform.”

The complementary GeoPulse Proximity creates ‘campaign files’ based on high volume geofencing data. In a second (or less), GeoPulse Proximity can identify an app user’s location, check it against a data file of Factual’s Global Places data or other location geofencing data and decide whether the location should stream particular content. For example, geofences could be set up to identify all store locations for a big chain, or all farmers markets located across a country. In less than a second, an app’s publishing content could be personalized based on whether the app user is within a few minutes walk from the nearest location.

Developers interested in trialing the new GeoPulse products can contact Tyler Bell via the Factual website.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities. I can be contacted via email, on Twitter, or on Google+.

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