We strive to become the default choice for location-based ad campaign authentication
Mark Slade, chief executive
What it does
But under new chief executive Mark Slade, who took the top job towards the end of 2017, and new finance boss David Rae, the company has transformed into a location intelligence specialist.
It has two main divisions: Insights and Verify. UK Insights is the currently the bigger of the two but Verify’s revenues are expected to dwarf those of UK Insights in 2019.
The first product, Insights, gives advertisers a whole range of data on how effective an ad has been in getting people into shops.
Kitchen maker Wren, for example, uses it to link footfall at its stores with its marketing activity.
It is also useful for companies that are looking to open new stores. They can use the platform to analyse footfall and select a location based on that.
The platform has more than 40bn datapoints, so there are plenty of other uses for clients, including audience and competitor analysis.
Verify is the focus going forward, though. It’s the world’s first independent location verification product that is looking to clamp down on ad fraud, which costs advertisers an estimated US$51mln every day.
It was launched last summer in the UK and earlier this year in the US, and, simply put, it helps brands to make sure their campaigns are targeting the people and areas that they are supposed to be.
How it’s doing
Group revenue jumped by 59% to £752,000 in the 12 months ended 31 December (2017: £471,993), driven by a 519% rise in like-for-like sales in Location Sciences’ Insights business.
Verify sales were more modest at £54,000 last year, although that figure is expected to swell significantly during 2019.
The sharp rise in revenue combined with a 61% drop in administrative costs meant loss per share reduced “significantly” to 0.98p in 2018, compared with a loss of 4.92p a share a year earlier.
Location Sciences finished the year with £2.62mln of cash in the bank (2017: £1.14mln) after raising £3.36mln from investors during 2018.
• In May, billboard advertising giant JCDecaux UK said it would use the company’s location data as part of an effort to make its customers’ campaigns “more impactful”
• Location Sciences is currently working with the7stars, the UK’s largest independent media agency which runs campaigns for huge global brands such as Papa Johns and Nintendo, to verify the accuracy and quality of its location-based advertising campaigns
Video – CFO David Rae
What the boss is saying
“With Verify we intend to make significant waves in the ad-tech market. There is a huge market opportunity here and our key differentiators set us apart,” said chief executive Mark Slade.
"The company's independence is extremely important as we strive to become the default choice for location-based ad campaign authentication.
“Being a highly talented relatively small team means that we can react to our customers' requirements rapidly and always deliver client-oriented outcomes.
“We are also media-agnostic, meaning that we do not sell media or own any media assets. For our customers, this means there is no conflict of interest. Our only purpose is to provide verification services to our clients.
“We are uniquely positioned to be the kitemark in the location based advertising industry, bringing trust, integrity and transparency back to brands.”
He concluded: “All these things combined set Location Sciences up for a successful 2019.”
Insights is currently Location Sciences’ money-maker, but Verify’s sales are set to dwarf it in 2019, especially following the latter’s launch across the pond.
Management are confident of bringing in £900,000 worth of Insight sales, but they are hoping Verify will hit £2mln this year.
Nine companies have adopted Verify, including Deliveroo and Nandos in the UK, but bosses want to see this figure jump to 50 come the end of 2019. They also want to have verified at least 1bn ad impressions.
Location currently works on the brand-side of advertising, but over the longer-term, it wants to establish itself as a hallmark of quality for supply-side platforms where the ads are actually featured.
With the Location Sciences seal of approval, they will be able to show potential advertisers and agencies that they use location data that has been verified by an independent third party.
The target is to have six major suppliers become Verify-accredited in 2019.
With the shares trading at around 4.1p as of 18 July, Location Sciences carries a market cap of £14.2mln.