Babberly Launches Hyperlocal Mobile Ad Platform

Joining a crowded field of location-based social start-ups, Babberly this week is rolling out a “hyperlocal” mobile ad platform to connect merchants with current and potential customers in real-time. CEO Bobby Marhamat describes Babberly an “on-trend ‘local goes social’ solution.”

The idea behind the startup, Marhamat explains, is “to provide merchants with an easy way to connect with their local community and drive more business through their doors.”

To do that, Marhamat says Babberly can help marketers create customized offers defined down to the last detail with its offer-generating tool. If everything goes according to plan, the offers should then appear in users' local landscapes via their mobile devices.

The startup is relying on its own virtual currency to increase user adoption and activity. The more users visit a particular location -- or share information about a business with friends via social channels -- the more so-called babberCRED they accumulate.

As part of the service, Babberly allows merchants to track various performance stats, as well as the ROI on active offers.

This year, eMarketer expects the domestic mobile advertising market to surpass $7 billion. All that money, however, has attracted the attention of the biggest Web players.

Google, for one, continues to integrate its AdMob mobile ad network into its broader ad ecosystem. Last year, AdMob became part of Ad Words, which enabled advertisers to extend campaigns across the network through a single dashboard.

Facebook recently launched app install ads, which send users directly to Google Play or the App Store to download apps. Facebook reports that 40% of the 100 top-grossing iOS and Android apps were using app install ads in the first quarter of the year.

Having virtually invented the location-based social media space, Foursquare continues to develop its ad strategy. The company raised $41 million in April from Union Square, and recently unveiled a new offering that allows users to create infographics based on their check-in histories. At launch, Samsung sponsored the new Time Machine feature.

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