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Next-gen advertising firms looks ahead to a post-Covid world

Brian Hartz

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Nickelytics co-founder and CEO Judah Longgrear.

Nickelytics, the Tampa-based advertising firm that evolved from The Nickel Ride, a ride-share company, is happily ahead of its time. By building a service that uses geolocation tracking to deliver valuable consumer insights and data to marketers, it’s planning months and years down the road, when most U.S. residents have received the Covid-19 vaccine and are again moving about in the world and viewing ads on vehicles and signs instead of computer and TV screens. And by focusing its technology on ride-share services, it’s also keeping up with declining levels of private car ownership among younger consumers.

Judah Longgrear, the co-founder and CEO of Nickelytics, told the Catalyst that the concept is catching on among investors. In December, he launched a campaign to raise more than $1 million via a Republic’s Crowd SAFE platform. So far, he’s raised about $240,000 from 520 investors. One of them is digital marketing expert and serial entrepreneur Neil Patel, who founded the Angels & Entrepreneurs Network.

“As an advertising company, Nickelytics is especially honored to be endorsed by marketing giant Neil Patel and gain unparalleled access to another highly engaged investing community,” Longgrear stated in a news release about Patel’s blessing. “These recent milestones give our team tangible reassurance that the value we provide advertisers and the gig economy alike is resonating with the public, and we look forward to implementing our vision for this new market.”

Patel’s group, Longgrear said, looks at “hundreds of hundreds and hundreds of deals per month, and they typically endorse just a couple. We were endorsed for February as a top deal flow.”

Nickelytics is active in markets across the country. Longgrear said the company has inked deals with a diverse array of clients, including the University of Tennessee. the on-demand laundry company Hamper, and Nationwide Insurance.

The Nickelytics concept is currently targeted at ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, as well as the e-scooters that are becoming popular in many cities. Uber and Lyft drivers — or anyone who can prove they drive a certain number of miles per day in the desired area — can apply to have their vehicles wrapped, at no cost to them, with an advertiser’s branding. The company then gives the driver a GPS device that creates a geospatial “cone” around the vehicle. That cone picks up the unique ID signals of nearby cell phones and saves that data, which is then analyzed, compiled and reported to the advertiser via an analytics dashboard.

The data, Longgrear said, can very clearly demonstrate an advertiser’s return on investment. It can reveal how many people who were exposed to the ad checked out the advertiser’s website, downloaded their app or even visited their official business location. The service dives deep into the details of each impression, accounting for time of day and even the weather conditions at the time.

“Advertisers,” Longgrear said, “understand not only the number of impressions, but also the types of consumers that were exposed to the ads.”

Nickelytics, which has just seven full-time employees, has already run campaigns in southern California, Nashville, St. Louis, Miami, New York City and, of course, Tampa. Longgrear expects the concept to catch on even more as the pandemic subsides.

“With the vaccine rolling out and more containment of Covid,” he said, “we think there’s a really big opportunity for how we reach consumers in the real world on an advertising platform.”

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