Location is interesting but context is a key

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Anna Sikora, Senior Planner Buyer at Somo

Over the last couple of years, advertisers have increasingly realised the value of mobile in the marketing mix. There are now fewer questions asked around the value of mobile advertising and it is considered a powerful tool in a marketer’s arsenal. What are the key differentiators in comparison to more traditional online marketing though? Personalisation is one, and having the ability to pinpoint the exact location of a user is another. So what is it that makes location so special and how can we leverage this mobile feature when aiming to deliver a message to our target audience?

Location-based marketing is a direct marketing strategy that uses a mobile device’s location to alert the owner about an offer from a near-by business. Today’s mobile phone market is highly concentrated on smartphones which have built-in navigation and location features like GPS, network signal, WiFi, NFC. These allow businesses to understand more about their target audience and to know where a particular user is located. Using location targeting tools, we can set up a virtual perimeter around a physical place such as a retail store, key going out areas or sports venues and gather data from mobile devices that enter or leave the defined area. Commonly known as geo-fencing, this is also used to trigger and send push notifications or display ads to users who are within specific locations that would have been defined beforehand.

Having the ability to collect data around your users’ locations, as well as their habits in terms of physical places they visit will help you get a better understanding of your audience. Knowing their habits and their daily or weekly routine combined with another layer of basic demographic information such as age and gender will give you just enough detail to be able to create a pool of users that match your targeting requirements.

If you already have a good understanding of who your users are and what their profile is, the next will be for you to reach them with a tailored and relevant messagin. In this case, mobile location will be a really interesting factor to take into account but the key to success will be context. Whatever your business objective is you would like your potential customer to convert eventually. Consequently, the time and place when your audience actually sees the ad plays an important role when planning such activity.

Imagine you’re a sportswear retailer and your prospective audience is in or around a gym or sports venue. As they are within the perimeter of a location that has a connection with the products you sell, it might seem like it would make sense to target them as they are in the gym. However, you have to ask yourself the right questions, do you really want to “interrupt” someone who is currently either watching a volleyball game or running on a treadmill? You won’t grab their attention enough for them to act instantly and they might not even remember the ad later. Location data should be used as a signal of a user’s behaviour rather than a trigger for the ad to be delivered.

In fact, based experience, we have found that targeting your audience when they are at home in the evening or during the weekend is more likely to be successful. In this situation, they are not distracted by other activities and they might already be in the mindset of planning a purchase or researching products and therefore interested to see your sportswear ad. Your targeting is meaningful as you understand more about them and their preferences but you have chosen to target them at a more convenient time so they allow your brand and campaign more attention.

Location-based advertising with its all technological advances has allowed marketers to know much more about their customers and their preferences and therefore gained a lot of attention recently. Since it adapts to its audience and allows for targeting people with a tailored message it increases relevancy of the marketing actions. Mobile advertising campaigns can be really successful if the location technology is used at the right time and under the right circumstances.

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