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GeoSwap expands into targeted digital advertising

Harnessing the use of smartphones at events to reach a very specific, place-based audience.

Everyone's got a phone in hand at events like the Riverfront Blues Festival. (Photo by Flickr user U.S. Jim Allen, used under a Creative Commons license)

Don’t worry, GeoSwap app users — the FOMO-fighting app will continue to connects locals to places and events just like always. GeoSwap the company, however, is evolving to offer a new digital advertising product, utilizing the tech it’s developed for the app.

The concept is called “Programmatic Event Audience Targeting,” and it goes beyond selecting target demographics that has become a hallmark of digital advertising.

GeoSwap cofounder Jason Bamford, who launched the startup with Horn Entrepreneurship classmates Jordan Gonzalez and Keith Doggett in 2017, says the move was a natural way to expand on the tech they’d already developed.

“We’re allowing brands to have a digital presence at specific events,” Bamford said.

By targeting specific events, advertisers can put their ad in front of potential customers when they use their smartphone at the event.

For example, a local sporting goods store can advertise a sale to people who attend Little League games within 10 miles of the business. When a parent goes to post a photo of the game on Facebook or tweet the score, the targeted ad will appear seamlessly in their feed.

Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel is one of the early adopters. “We’ve been using it since July at local festivals,” said Sofia Horvath, social media manager for Harvest Ridge. “It’s a new thing for us. We didn’t really know the best way to set it up to obtain our goals, but Jordan and his team have been great with helping to guide us.”

The service can also be utilized by event planners, who can include targeted digital advertising at their own events in sponsorship packages.

This new direction for GeoSwap is a pivot from its trajectory a year ago, when expansion meant releasing the app in major cities on the East Coast. Last December, GeoSwap was the official app of SantaCon NYC — and a city-wide launch was to follow. But bigger cities aren’t necessarily right for an app designed to help people find things to do.

“When you’re in NYC and you walk outside and there are a thousand things to do, you don’t need our app as much,” Bamford said. “It works in Wilmington and Newark and other smaller markets where people come and are like ‘What is there to do around here?'”

So that’s why they’ve taken GeoSwap’s core technology and reapplied it. And, because the tech is only as localized as you make it, it can be utilized for targeted advertising anywhere, expanding the startup’s potential clientele in the fast-growing area of programmatic digital marketing.

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