By DAVID GUNTER
SANDPOINT — A quarter million dollars poured into the local economy in just three days? Thanks, Kochava.
From Feb. 14-16, the mobile measurement and analytics firm hosted its annual Kochava Mobile Summit, this time featuring the largest audience ever from countries around the globe.
About 200 people attended this year — an increase of 50 percent over the prior year summit, according to Jason Hicks, Kochava’s vice-president of marketing and client services — staying in local hotels and doing a little shopping on their own during the event.
“It’s hard to put a handle on the overall financial impact, but based on Kochava expenditures on signage, meals, ski day at Schweitzer, entertainment, lodging, transportation and other expenses we invested over $250,000 into the community for the three-day event,” he said, “let alone the spend level outside of our purview of everyone in attendance.”
The summit has become a who’s-who of companies and countries involved in the exploding field of measurement and analytics of mobile device advertising, with names such as McDonald’s, Nike, EA Sports, CBS Interactive, Verizon and Priceline represented and attendees from the U.S., Canada, the Philippines, Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom taking part.
Describing exactly what Kochava does can get wonky, but the company website states that it provides an “analytics platform to plan, target, measure and optimize media spend.” In lay terms, that service gives industry giants the ability to closely monitor the effectiveness of online advertising, tracking in great detail how customers respond to such promotions so that they can be tweaked for ever-better performance.
At the Kochava Summit, representatives from these international companies heard keynote speeches from Kochava CEO Charles Manning, as well as Kathryn Haun, a professor at Stanford Law School and Stanford School of Business and a former prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, and William Mougayar, who authored the book, “The Business Blockchain.”
All three keynote speakers focused on the emergence of blockchain technology in the digital world, with Haun sharing information on the impact it has had in fighting crime in the federal government and Mougayar talking about the growing acceptance of what he called “an objective, secure, and transparent way to record transactions for business.”
Manning, for his part, discussed how Kochava has maintained its industry front-runner status by staying ahead of the curve and offering both new ad-related products and blockchain technology. And while such features continue to drive company growth — and summit attendance — they also provide a touchstone for new technologies
How much do the topics discussed at the annual gathering guide Kochava’s subsequent business decisions?
“One hundred percent,” Hicks said. “That is the full intent of the summit. Much of the content/sessions are panel-oriented, with representation from various parts of our industry. We present hot button topics that are currently impacting the digital advertising industry and present solutions with Kochava tools such as our fraud console, the Kochava Collective and configurable attribution as integrated point solutions that solve.”
In concert with cutting edge trends that drive the business, Kochava has seen a natural evolution from what was a one-of-a-kind product when first introduced to a suite of services that allow users to deep dive into customer habits and buying proclivities.
“(We) started out primarily as an attribution tool, but have over the years expanded our user interface to provide robust analytical reporting for media planning, audience targeting, engagement and enrichment,” said Hicks.
The Kochava Mobile Summit wasn’t all work, however. The hosts treated the attendees to a private concert at The Hive one evening and took the group to the slopes at Schweitzer on the third day.
At least indirectly, the event also acts as a recruiting tool for Kochava, which steps into the spotlight as a leader in the field while showing off its hometown in the bargain. Though the skill sets it requires might be extremely specific, the combined reputation of the company and the place where it resides has become a potent force for filling openings.
“We have a consistent pipeline of interest in joining the Kochava team in Sandpoint across a large variety of job functions including development, sales, marketing, and customer support,” said Hicks. “The draw of joining such a unique company that leads our industry and being able to join a passionate team in one of the most beautiful small towns in the country that offers an abundance of outdoor activities is a major attraction.”