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Jumping the Barriers

In the Nordics, Kogenta technology is enabling urban sustainability through seamless public transport.

 ‘Seamless’ is a piece of jargon that’s used all too often (and often all too misleadingly) in the world of new technology. In the world of mobility and public transport, however, the ‘seamless experience’ is a worthwhile aspiration – and it’s starting to feel like an achievable one too.

What would a ‘seamless public transport experience’ feel like? At its simplest, it would be a journey without friction. No confusing fares and routes, no struggle with payment processes. An experience where you leave your own front door and travel smoothly and easily to your destination without any interaction with person or machine, but confident that your journey will be correctly recognised and charged. An experience that is, above all, easier, cheaper and more pleasant than using your own private vehicle to add to the noise and pollution of the city centre.

But does the technology exist to support this vision?

It does, and Kogenta has been instrumental in its test and rollout. It’s called ‘BIBO’ – or ‘Be In Be Out’  technology. It recognises the presence and subsequent absence of an individual or device from a location or vehicle, collecting metrics that can be applied to charging, route analytics and much more.

Importantly, unlike other ticketing/ monitoring technologies, BIBO doesn’t depend solely on Bluetooth and external sensors/ emitters which are highly prone to false positives (are you on the bus, or in an adjacent vehicle, or just walking alongside?) but uses the wide range of inbuilt phone sensors to generate a highly granular picture of passenger activity. And it doesn’t depend on the passenger checking in and checking out – activity that can be surprisingly difficult when (for example)  laden down with shopping or herding small children.

Similar technologies already exist, of course. In London, for example, passengers routinely travel around the network swiping Oyster cards or credit cards at points of entry or egress. But these are not seamless experiences. Referrred to as ‘CIBO’ (Check In Be Out) or CICO (Check In Check Out) such services require payment instruments to be carried – and sometimes these are forgotten. They require physical interaction at barriers, not always easy for people with disabilities. CICO and CIBO are are not ‘frictionless’ technologies, and still provide a deterrent to the use of public over private transport which is so vital to sustainable cities. A deterrent too to inclusive engagement with public life by the sight- or mobility-impaired.

‘BIBO’ is much smarter than this. A mobile app is all that is required for all journeys within the transit system, and without the need for physical checking in and checking out, BIBO reduces congestion at entry and exit points, resulting in faster boarding and disembarking. BIBO also opens up flexible charging options for operators – for example, charging based on the precise distance travelled, the zones crossed and so on. And it gives those operators a mountain of data which they can use to analyse usage patterns, optimise route planning and so on – again, improving the passenger experience and increasing takeup.

Kogenta technology is helping urban authorities jump another barrier to the modern sustainable, inclusive city and take another step away from congested, polluted urban life.


Automated ticketing is just one application of Kogenta’s geo-contextual solutions. For more, including the use of geo-contextual insights to support post-GDPR advertising and marketing strategies, contact us and Book a Demo.


Long Hot Summer

It’s only August, but it seems already to have been a long summer in advertising. To judge from Kogenta’s travels around the industry, in customer meetings and at conferences, three topics are dominating the 2023 headlines – with another coming up fast on the rails. What are we hearing? In no particular order:

The death of third party cookies

The former keystone of digital advertising, third party cookies face their long-anticipated final curtain in 2024, as, driven by consumer sensitivities and a tightening regulatory landscape, Google will finally deliver the coup de grace to ad-tracking and other non-consensual use of personal information. The need for new and effective ways to target prospects and markets is now compelling.

Advertisers, marketers, and tech companies are scrambling to adapt to this new reality, seeking innovative ways to effectively target prospects and markets. Businesses and agencies are investing in approaches that incorporate user consent and respect data privacy, shifting the point of focus from the individual to ‘the cohort’ and recognising the vital importance of geographic context in identifying markets.

Changes in the economic headwinds

And what they are blowing, for good or ill, towards the advertising business. Fear of inflation and recession is everywhere,  and interest rates have risen to meet it. We face uncertain and contradictory economic times, and this is already having a significant impact on advertising spend and decision-making, as businesses hold back on any spend or change that feels discretionary. Add ongoing geo-political uncertainty to this, and the struggles of worldwide economies adapting to post-Covid consumer attitudes and behaviours, and there can rarely have been more uncertain times for business investment. We foresee expenditure in the short to medium term being targeted on ‘must-haves’ for which there is a compelling or unavoidable business case – such as cookie replacement strategies.

Sustainability and ‘responsible growth’

What part can advertising play in getting more from less and minimising our impact on the planet? As the world grapples with undeniable climate change, the advertising industry is reflecting on its own impact and the role it can play in promoting responsible growth and minimising the environmental footprint that it leaves.
Digital communication, though not zero-consumption, is already reducing the physical impact of marketing. Further change is possible, however, through the use of innovative datasets (such as Kogenta KCI’s) which provide a more granular and nuanced understanding of target audience locations. Smarter use of data will increase efficiency by ensuring that the most relevant content reaches the right audience, minimising advertising waste and unnecessary resource consumption. And of course, marketing and advertising can be used to promote reuse too – helping businesses to focus not just on ‘selling more’ but on ‘selling better’ too.

Three macro changes in the business and economic landscape within which advertising and marketing must operate. And swirling around all of this is the sudden and dramatic rise of AI, the impact of which we can barely yet assess, but which could quickly dwarf every other issue on this list. Are we about to see not just auto-targeting of markets and customers, but routine auto-generation of messaging and content too? AI is already proving to be an invaluable tool for analysts and creatives alike. How far we can take it remains to be seen, but the journey promises to be interesting!

Learn more about Kogenta Explorer, our Made for Media  platform specifically built to support post-GDPR advertising in the Cookieless World or Contact Us to Book a Demo.

Advertising futures, and ‘the power of the cohort’

For as long as many of us can remember, the holy Grail for marketeers has been ‘the market of one’ – an addressable market so tightly identified, and so accurately targeted that resistance to a value proposition focused on its needs and desires would be unthinkable.

To this end, much energy in the marketing space was focused on getting closer and closer to one-to-one marketing. And indeed, as people lived increasingly online digital lives, as cookie technology and machine learning exponentially improved, that vision started to seem less and less of a pipedream. A message and a proposition tailored to each individual prospect? Coming right up!

But as the chequered flag came into view, the brakes went on. Highly personalised marketing might be extremely desirable for the industry, but less so, it turned out, for the consumer.

People are cagy these days with their data – with the value of which they are now fully conversant – and are very wary indeed about how their identity can be documented, analysed and used. And people now have the law very firmly on their side.

Big steps

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), designed to protect personal data linked to individuals, was introduced in the EU in 2018, bringing consumers very substantial rights over the way in which organisations could process their personal information, and putting the onus firmly on businesses to comply, or face substantial punitive measures. Similar measures have been introduced across the globe.

Clearly seeing the writing on the wall, Google will – albeit after some delays – start phasing out third-party cookies in 2024. Firefox and Safari took similar steps long ago, but Google’s move, given that more than half of the world’s browser traffic passes through Chrome, will have far greater impact on the advertising business. Marketeers have to plan for a world in which detailed profiling of individual web behaviour will no longer be legal or viable.

The way forward

In the face of this challenge, new ways are emerging.

If marketing spend is to be optimised, then campaigns still need to be targeted; but the deprecation of personalised marketing means that only consumers who self-identify and give their consent can be directly addressed with promotions and advertising. But these may be relatively few. What’s the alternative for businesses, for whom every marketing dollar counts? Are they to fall back on ‘spray and pray’ broadcast campaigns?

Happily not. A better way forward lies in the ‘cohort concept’, which identifies groups of  individuals with similar market characteristics and addresses those groups with messages that will resonate with individual members of that group.

Close analysis of anonymised data reveals that people with similar market characteristics tend to form other kinds of cohorts, occupying similar geographic areas, with similar housing and property values, sharing similar educational backgrounds, professional classes, income and so on, and importantly, making similar life choices, at both a macro and micro level – from parenting down to supermarket shopping.

This particularly seems to apply to geography. Properties within a given postcode in the UK will tend to house people and families of markedly similar character. Much as we like to think of ourselves as distinct individuals, birds of a feather (it would appear) do like to flock together.

How does this help?

The individual consumer identity is sacrosanct. So ‘laser accuracy’ in targeting the customer is problematic, but probabilistic marketing can be a viable substitute.  This aims to maximise the chances of success by, for example, using geo-contextual information about the locations where the individual resides, works, or is frequently found. This, combined with other socio-demographic data about the cohorts associated with those locations can then be used to direct a campaign that does not rely on identifying the individual, but is likely to find and resonate with the individual all the same.

Geo-contextual indexing.
Geo-contextual indexing allows cost-optimal consumer targeting.

If even a small number of people within a tight geographic area – typically a postcode – can be analysed and categorised, then using that information to target all individuals in that area will have a strong probability of securing a high response (even with personal information eliminated or anonymised).

Probabilistic marketing depends on accurate indexing of the persona, not the person, using data that is typical of the cohorts to which the individual belongs. For example: analysis of postcodes within high-cost commuter towns in the south of England is likely to identify high-earning/ time pressured individuals. It may well identify a higher-than-average percentage of working parents. These, and more granular insights, can be used to position both digital and physical campaigns that chime with those characteristics to reach individuals within those postcodes.

Conversely, if products or services are specifically targeted at (for example) high earning/ time pressured individuals (such as childcare services) or teenage online gamers, then it is possible to identify where individuals of that type are most likely to be located, and therefore which postcodes will be worth targeting.

Everybody wins

Probabilistic marketing, using the concepts of personas within cohorts, is likely to be almost as effective as marketing to the known individual, and may even offer a more optimal strategy for marketing spend.  New ways are emerging to address the consumer, and they offer a win-win: better ROI for the business, and fewer nuisance interventions for the consumer.

Turning data into competitive insight is what we do – take a look.  Or Contact Us to Book a Demo.

The role of geo-contextual in the new advertising landscape

At Kogenta we believe that high-quality data and insights can be both portable and probabilistic. Our view is that geo-contextual solutions will play a crucial role in delivering omni-channel insights, and planning and activation strategies that are future-proofed for a post-GDPR, cookie-less and Mobile Advertising ID (MAID) free future.

Whilst one-to-one targeting will always play an important part in the marketing mix, regulatory and industry-led initiatives will require planning and activation strategists to also embrace targeting on a one-to-few and one-to-many basis. It is in these instances that a geo-contextual approach can provide significant benefits.

Why Geo-Contextual?

There are many benefits to be gained from geo-contextual solutions such as those that Kogenta provides. A few key points are summarised below:

  • Privacy first: By focusing on locations and not people, geo-contextual solutions do not seek to profile or manipulate personally identifiable information (PII) data in any way, thus providing a truly privacy-first approach to audience creation, and insights and activation.
  • Modelled against robust truthsets: We are often asked how we create our geo-contextual data. In Kogenta’s case we use over 70 open-source datasets to create over 400 proprietary indexes against each UK postcode and postcode sector. We also partner with telco partners to fuse aggregated mobility data with our demographic and socio-demographic, consumer expenditure data.
  • Portable data assets: Geo-contextual insights work back to geographic areas such as postcode and ZIP code. Data can be seamlessly shared across multiple platforms to enrich supply, and improve buying and bidding strategies.
  • Flexible and customisable: Unlike traditional audience segments, an index-based approach allows clients to configure audience attributes that are best suited to them. For example, Kogenta Contextual Indexes (KCIs) can be used to profile areas that are twice as likely to own an EV, 50% more likely to own an EV, or even under-index against EV ownership.
  • Omni-channel insights: The Kogenta Explorer platform provides clients the ability to combine our data with other geo data assets (including their own) to build out powerful omni-channel insights. Our data visualisations can bring this level of granularity to life and help with planning and pitch work. Clients can also profile their own data (eg. postcode sectors for clients who purchased goods) against Kogenta data assets to identify prospective new clients with similar traits.

Social grade AB residents depicted across postcode sector.
Figure 1 – Social Grade AB Residents depicted across Postcode Sector


Sell Side Benefits

From a publisher perspective, the depreciation of cookies and MAIDs will impact publisher yields and addressable inventory. There is also much debate about how contextual solutions impinge on the publishers’ IP. In addition to this, brand safety concerns seemingly serve to unduly block revenue from high quality sites.

Geo-contextual solutions can add value in the following ways

  • A data solution that empowers publishers: Geo-contextual solutions can be additive to publisher yield by providing non-PII data that they control to enrich their inventory for both programmatic and direct sales teams. This can take the form of first party data sets enriched with demographic, socio-demographic, and household expenditure attributes. When combined with the Kogenta Explorer platform, publishers can also utilise our data and tools to drive incremental revenue but use geo-contextual solutions to respond to more briefs for both direct and programmatic teams.
  • Improve yield in iOS environments: These attributes can also help add a layer of geo-contextual insight to inventory that lacks identifiers and as such help convert non-addressable inventory to addressable; this is especially pertinent to iOS and Safari environments. The ability to leverage geo-contextual solutions to add value to Apple inventory should be a key consideration given the premium placed on Apple users.
  • Add value to seller defined audience strategies: While still at a relatively nascent stage, geo-contextual solutions can be seen as a scalable way to assist publishers to deliver higher-yielding supply as part of their seller-defined audience strategies.

What’s your strategy?

We speak with a range of partners across agencies, publishers, and specialists in DOOH, Audio, and CTV. We are happy to explore how we can best meet your objectives and to share real world examples of how our products, the Kogenta Contextual Indexes and the Kogenta Explorer Platform, can bring geo-contextual insights and data to life.

We hope this intro sparks an interest in learning more about how geo-contextual solutions such as Kogenta’s can add value to your post-cookies audience, and to your insights and activation strategies.