Local Response, a recently launched social advertising platform that allows local businesses to respond to the “check-in” with marketing campaigns, is making its first acquisition today. The startup (formerly Buzzd) is acquiring Philo, a social TV check-in and advertising platform backed by North Bridge Venture Partners, DFJ Gotham, Eniac Ventures, and others. Exact terms of the deal were not disclosed but we are told the transaction is all stock.
Similar to Miso and GetGlue, Philo operated a social check-in service for television shows. Using Philo, users could have a second screen experience with TV content by being able to see who else is watching show, access rewards for watching shows and checking in, and more.
But LocalResponse founder Nihal Mehta says that Philo has pivoted over the past year to an advertising model, called Reach.TV. Basically the company allows TV and movie studios track when people are Tweeting about a show or film and then send these viewers messages and @replies with promotions, ads and more. It was this pivot, that drew the attention of Mehta (not to mention that Mehta is a partner at Philo’s investor Eniac Ventures)
Of course, LocalResponse has a similar model. The startup aggregates real-time social media check-‐ins from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, Instagram and dozens of other services to provide a simple interface for local businesses to directly respond to their most influential and valuable customers. What makes LocalResponse compelling is that it analyzes massive amounts of data in addition to check-ins from the Twitter firehose, photo sharing sites and more to find other forms of check-ins. These could be posting a picture on Instagram of a dish from a restaurant or Tweeting that you are visiting a particular bar.
LocalResponse’s proprietary technology collects and prioritizes social data both explicitly (i.e. check-ins on Foursquare) and implicitly (by analyzing natural language on Facebook, Twitter, etc.; e.g. “I’m headed to ShakeShack”). Mehta says most check-ins are actual implicit and many social media platforms catered to helping businesses track check-ins miss this key data. By allowing brands to focus on connecting with users on this implicit data of the sharing of opinions and mentions of content (i.e. TV shows and movies), LocalResponse will add another dimension to the its social advertising platform.
Philo also adds another way for large brands like content properties and entertainment companies to work with the LocalResponse. Mehta adds that Phili will also bring a seasoned engineering team to LocalResponse, and Philo’s CTO, Jessica Lowe, will become the new CTO of LocalResponse.
Since its launch a few months ago, the company has been growing. LocalResponse recently signed its 25th major advertiser to its brand platform. In July, LocalResponse revealed some results of its first major brands, with campaigns performing 100 times better than traditional online media buys, including a 60% redemption rate.
LocalResponse is backed by Verizon Ventures, Metamorphic Ventures, Extreme Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, BOLDstart Ventures, Jim Pallotta, Greycroft Partners, and others. Mehta says the company is looking to raise another round but has also received a number of acquisition offers. In fact, he’s considered a number of term sheets and offers at the moment. It’s unclear which way Mehta will go, but LocalResponse is certainly on to something when it comes to using engaging advertising on social networks for both small businesses and brands.