Bunker Labs Austin Startup Abraxas Sees The Future In Advertising Data
“Half the money I spent on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know what half”. That’s an age old anecdote that many in the outdoor advertising world have been dealing with for decades. Outdoor display advertising is one of the oldest forms of advertising in the world. More recently it’s been disrupted by digital outdoor advertising, but even the most expensive, most creative and most captivating outdoor advertising campaigns leave the advertiser and the advertising company scratching their heads wondering just how effective it was.
Justin Gilfus isn’t your typical adman. At first sight you might mistake him for a biker or the bass guitarist for some rockin band. When he tells his story it’s one that many retired military folks (and don’t get us wrong Gilfus can’t be past his mid 30’s), tell. After leaving the service, a wounded warrior, he didn’t know exactly what would come next. He tried his hand at a variety of jobs, but eventually ended up at the helm of ads for the road, an outdoor media company that controls the majority of the digital display advertising in Austin Texas.
The likable, natural conversationalist had no trouble getting clients, but what he did have trouble with is helping clients understand just how effective their outdoor campaigns were. His military integrity and natural desire for problem solving set Gilfus on a path to develop technology that can better track outdoor advertising. Then, he decided to take it a step further and help companies measure the effectiveness of events, in person engagements and other, typically non measurable marketing.
Gilfus told us at the Bunker Labs showcase at Austin Startup Week that the company has developed technology that can measure the effectiveness of things like billboard advertising. The technology is based on mobile devices and data packets, publicly available data packets that in no way violate a user’s privacy. Gilfus is adamant about that.
A loose example is that you drive down the road, pass a billboard for something like the outlet mall. At that point a data packet is pulled from the mobile device. When that same mobile device ends up at the outlet mall you can effectively track that the advertising was useful. “Think of it like a click” Gilfus explained.
There are several other factors that come into play that the technology called, Abraxas, is designed to calculate. Where it really gets exciting is through the use of digital billboards which could have an immediate call to action, like the next fifty people that come to a car dealership can have $1000 off. Using Abraxas the company could tell which customers actually reacted to the sign.
The technology works similarly at in person events. Check out the video above where Gilfus explains Abraxas and even how they were using it at the Austin Startup Week event.
Upon completing the Bunker Labs Austin program, Abraxas Technology/Ads For The Road was selected for the Texas Venture Labs Accelerator, where they will continue to grow and hopefully secure some venture capital funding. You can find out more about Ads For The Road here, and Abraxas Technology here.