Using Location Data for Mobile Advertising

Most of us today can’t imagine leaving the house without our smartphone. It’s how we communicate, make plans, look up directions, conduct research, and generally make decisions on-the-go.

This reliance on mobile devices represents a goldmine for advertisers who can use location data to reach customers at just the right moment — when they are near a store, and thus most likely to act on an ad or offer. According to a survey conducted by Harris and Placecast, over 50% of smartphone users said they have taken some kind of action on a coupon or offer that they received on their phone.

Moreover, consumers actively want to receive these communications. This is a big deal, considering that consumers find most digital advertising to be intrusive and annoying. Location data enables advertisers to impart information in their messages that is actually useful, which endears them to the recipients. In fact, 9 out of 10 smartphone owners in the Harris Placecast study said it was important for them to be able to search for a retailer nearby, and 80% and more of the U.S. Shoppers want the ability to check for nearby product availability, according to eMarketer.

Location data not only helps in finding customers in the right place and time, but also enables advertisers to create a clearer picture of who their customers are, and this enables them to segment and target their users with highly personalized and customized mobile ads.

Let’s take a deeper look at the many different ways location data can help advertisers unleash the full potential of mobile advertising.

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1. Dynamic Mobile Ad Creatives

The most effective ads grab customers’ attention, tell a story, and provide relevant information. The relevance factor is key because even the most entertaining or beautiful ads in the world won’t drive results if the consumer is not interested in what the ad is selling. To make ads as relevant as possible, they have to be dynamic, meaning they change as the customer’s context changes.

When building ad creative, location data makes this degree of adaptability possible, so the ad dynamically changes based on what the customer is doing. For example, using location data, an ad unit could provide a map of all the store locations that are nearby. With one click, it loads navigation, and drives customers to the exact store location.

Additionally, the ad unit could have a store locator, which allows users to input a zip code, identify the nearest store, and navigate their way to it. Location data also means an ad unit can present a dynamic distance on the ad, which shows the customer how far the nearest store is, or change the creative based on different locations and geofences, if say, different stores have different promotions.


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2. Location-­based Audience Segments

Advertisers can use location data to build geographic audience segments. For example an advertiser that wants to deliver an ad for a QSR restaurant can use location data to specifically target an audience such as all “fast food diners”, or they can use location data to build a brand segment, such as “McDonalds Diners”, that includes all the customers who are near any McDonald’s location.

When combined with other data types, location data can be used to build behavioral audience segments, such as “Foodies”, these would be people that frequently visit dining locations, and use dining related apps on their phones, etc.  Advertisers can also get very specific and create very custom audience segments for highly targeted campaigns, such as McDonald’s customers found only in California and Florida.

When it comes to creating audience segments, there are a multitude of options for advertisers, as long as they have access to good location data and a robust mobile data management platform!


News_Icon2.png Want to learn more about how audience segments are built? Check out this article on “The Yellow Brick Road to Building Location Audience Profiles”


 

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3. Geofencing, Proximity Targeting  

Proximity targeting is another valuable use case for location data. Advertisers can geofence their retail locations and deliver ads to people nearby. Geofence sizes can be adjusted, depending on how urban/suburban/rural an area is, or advertisers can use polygons.

Additionally, advertisers can use location data for “conquesting,” meaning they geofence competitors’ stores and deliver ads with promotions or nearby locations to draw users away from competitors, and towards them. And, advertisers can geofence complimentary locations where their users are found and serve ads to them. For example, Nike could serve ads around sports fields, sports bars, or to a stadium during a specific sporting event.


 

4. Ad Measurement and Attribution

Last but not least, location data can be used to actually measure store visits after users have been exposed to an ad. This allows advertisers to measure the lift in store visits, so they understand the impact of their mobile advertising, as well as what works and what does not, and use those insights to inform their campaigns going forward.

A further benefit is that by attaching purchase data, advertisers can measure attribution, meaning they gain greater understanding about which efforts drive results. This can be particularly difficult to measure when looking at brick-and-mortar shopping. How do you know that a mobile ad drove someone into a store as opposed to a billboard or an ad they saw on their desktop at home? These metrics can help measure the total ROI of a campaign.

Location data takes mobile advertising from ignorable at best and intrusive at worst to genuinely useful, and therefore valuable. It enables advertisers to deliver customers the information they want and need at just the right moment, which makes them more likely to engage and take action. Location data is a valuable asset, and should be placed at the core of any mobile advertising campaign.

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