Murmur Helps Brands Reach Target Audiences With Mobile Advertising Tech

Murmur developed backpacks with screens and sensors to display ads and gather demographic data.

Written by Abel Rodriguez
Published on Sep. 22, 2022
Murmur Helps Brands Reach Target Audiences With Mobile Advertising Tech
Chicago future 5 Murmur 2022 Q3
Murmur co-founder and CEO Emin Aliyev with backpack display. | Photo: Murmur

Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.

In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s Chicago round-up here.

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In today’s competitive market, it’s no longer enough for a company to get as many eyes on their advertisement as possible. Instead, businesses are now looking for a greater return on investment (ROI) when it comes to their ads and how their marketing dollars are spent.

Murmur, a Chicago-based company founded in 2021 by Emin Aliyev, aims to help companies get greater returns on their marketing campaigns. It does so through its mobile advertising tech solutions and platform.

Murmur created a screen device that is worn like a backpack and displays advertisements as people walk around cities. The screens are inlaid with sensors and eye-tracking capabilities in order to gather demographic data on a street level that is then used to help companies target their desired audience. 

If someone is walking in front of me and is carrying a backpack with a screen on it, I’m going to look because it is unusual and interesting.”

Aliyev came up with the idea for Murmur while working at another startup he founded that focused on delivering furniture. There, he noticed how much money and time was being spent on ads and how few results were achieved through Google and Facebook ads. Set to find a solution, he mounted a TV to his car one day and drove to IKEA, as those shoppers were the company’s target audience. He took note of whether people were looking at his ad and also who, specifically, was looking. 

“I noticed how many people were looking and noted what their gender was and what their average age was so I could optimize and improve my ad performance,” Aliyev told Built In. “I found that what we were doing was actually working and people were looking at a crazy guy with a TV atop of his car.”

After that experiment, Aliyev said orders at his furniture delivery company increased. The results led him to launch Murmur to help other businesses with similar advertising problems. 

At first, Murmur was only using cars with displays fixed on the roof to show ads but later decided to develop backpacks to increase ad viewing time. According to Aliyev, the company was able to increase retention time from two to eight seconds with the introduction of its backpack screens.

“If someone is walking in front of me and is carrying a backpack with a screen on it, I’m going to look because it is unusual and interesting,” Aliyev said. 

To have an ad featured on Murmer’s backpack and car screens, companies can go on Murmurs website and start an ad campaign there. The platform will also help the company choose locations to show the ad based on the demographics the business is trying to reach and the demographic data gathered by the sensors on the backpacks. 

Murmur will also work with brands during the design phase and can guide them on where to place images and text on their ads for the best ROI. According to Aliyev, Murmur is able to pinpoint what specific sections of an advertisement are being viewed. Then it relays that information to the companies using Murmur. 

Aliyev said the company is working on new ways to use the data collected by sensors. Murmur is also working on a platform that will help copywriters increase their read retention time. The company will also use its data to see how factors like weather and air condition impact shopping patterns.

“Theres also a correlation between air quality, noise level and how people are more likely to explore surroundings and look at outdoor ads. Because if theres bad air quality and its too noisy, you want to escape from that setting and you dont look around. But when its nice and quiet youre more open to exploring your surroundings,” Aliyev said. 

Since launching, Murmur has raised $250,000 in a preseed round but is nearing a seed round in the coming months. The service is also currently available in Chicago and San Francisco. Murmur is planning to launch in 10 new cities within the next year. 

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