5 Mobile Marketing Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2015

I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to explore new ways to engage consumers. This ever-changing mobile landscape requires marketers to determine the best ways to connect with their mobile consumers with interactions that will resonate across varying screen sizes.

I don’t have to tell you that we are living in a mobile-first world that continues to drive brands to explore new ways to engage consumers. This ever-changing mobile landscape requires marketers to determine the best ways to connect with their mobile consumers with interactions that will resonate across varying screen sizes. Below you will find a handful of trends that brands should consider as they continue to evolve their mobile strategies:

1. The ROI for Mobile Marketing and Advertising Is No Longer a Guessing Game
Every second of the day mobile devices create copious amounts of actionable data for marketers. This data include call detail records, Short Message Service (SMS) data, and geo-location data. The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

2. Mobile Videos—the Time Is Now
During the last few years, the use of videos for marketing purposes has been steadily growing. According to eMarketer, more than one-third of all U.S.-based mobile phone users—about 29 percent of the country’s population—are expected to watch video on their mobile devices. This gives advertisers an ideal way to get in front of their target audience.

The reality is that mobile video is growing and will continue to do so. Stats show that consumers will continue to access, share and interact with video on their smartphones and tablets. The time to start developing a mobile video strategy is now.

3. Make It Personal
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social. The value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from each mobile interaction. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.

4. Going All In on Mobile
The importance of mobile will grow in each and every aspect of business. People use mobile devices all day long and in various contexts, allowing marketers to target them in a longer stretch of time and during different phases of the day.

All agree that the popularity of mobile devices will only grow in 2015, driven by smartphones, tablets and wearable technology requiring marketers to consider how they target and approach their mobile initiatives.

5. Hyper-localized Targeting
The proliferation of mobile devices, primarily smartphones, has created a major opportunity for marketers to deliver contextual advertisements. These mobile-specific ads target the right people at the right time. For instance, through the combination of social data and location data, stores that shoppers are near and might be interested in can send out ads offering percentage discounts or other incentives. Delivered by shops to their shoppers in real time, these ads get consumers to walk through their doors. Hyper-localized advertising has been shown to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.

People everywhere are becoming more reliant on their mobile devices to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. These trends should inspire brands to think about how they can evolve their marketing strategies to enhance their mobile consumer engagement in 2015.

Cross-Device Is the Cornerstone of Your Marketing Plan

As smartphones and tablets evolve, the bright lines that previously separated digital, print, TV, mobile and PC are now beginning to fade away. Advertising, now more than ever, needs to be wherever and whenever the consumer wants it be, and “mobile” is not so much a device-type as it is a behavior or state of mind

As smartphones and tablets evolve, the bright lines that previously separated digital, print, TV, mobile and PC are now beginning to fade away. Advertising, now more than ever, needs to be wherever and whenever the consumer wants it be, and “mobile” is not so much a device-type as it is a behavior or state of mind.

The spend on cross-device campaigns that target the same users across smartphone, tablet and laptop devices is growing as marketers discover their effectiveness. In a recent survey, 75 percent of marketers said they have seen increased effectiveness with cross-device campaigns.

Marketers are already investing quite a bit in cross-device campaigns as they follow consumer behavior, but now they want to better quantify the results. The rush to develop mobile advertising campaigns is coupled with the desire for better measurement and understanding.

More than 50 percent of marketers surveyed by ValueClick Media and Greystripe reported that cross-device campaigns expand the overall reach and help optimize the performance of the campaign. But marketers point to the time and money needed to track, build and maintain a mobile experience as the main reasons why mobile campaigns are underperforming.

Marketers want to move deeper into cross-device marketing, but they also want more from their campaigns. Specifically, they want to better understand the impact of each medium and the path to purchase.

While cross-screen advertising is becoming increasingly commonplace, it still presents a range of challenges for brands—challenges that are holding back spending growth. The key challenges are:

  • Difficulty tracking audiences across multiple devices and a lack of common performance metrics were cited as the largest issues facing agencies and marketers when deploying and measuring cross-screen campaigns. Research shows that one in four marketers are yet to execute campaigns across multiple screens. For 59 percent of marketers and 68 percent of agencies, difficulty with tracking audiences across multiple devices is what’s holding them back.
  • Media planning and execution often take precedence over the creative. To successfully launch a cross-screen campaign, creative cannot be an afterthought. It’s clear why reaching consumers across multiple screens and devices is appealing, but brands need to reevaluate how they resource creative and technical production to ensure they have the assets needed to run effective cross-screen campaigns.
  • Cross-device advertising budgets typically are managed separately, making it difficult to keep the consumer at the forefront of planning silos. It’s time to start thinking about how to remove the silos and have a more holistic approach to mobile advertising campaigns.

If brands and agencies can come together to unlock the promise of consistent and rich ad experiences across different device screens at scale that many long for, the future of mobile advertising will undoubtedly be cross-device and creative will be able to adjust to the context in which it appears—whether that’s a phone, tablet, desktop, wearables, connected TV, or an automobile.

Are Coupons the Key to Mobile Marketing?

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

Mobile commerce has exploded in recent years—and mobile coupons are responsible for much of this growth. In fact, mobile coupons are redeemed 10 times more than print coupons and the number of mobile coupon users is expected to reach 53.2 million by 2014. Combine that with the increase in mobile usage by consumers on the go, and it’s clear that mobile coupons are the perfect solution for growing your small business and attracting customers on the hunt for discounts through their mobile devices.

The Mobile Marketing Opportunity Is Real
eMarketer estimates that nearly 20 million US adults will redeem a mobile coupon this year, including coupons or codes received via SMS, applications and mobile web browsers; quick response codes for redemption online or offline; and group buying coupons purchased via mobile. More than 70 percent of US adult digital coupon users will redeem a coupon or code on a mobile device for online or offline shopping in 2014.

The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption and the proliferation of digital channels offering coupons easily accessed by mobile, such as mobile apps, daily deal and group buying sites, email, and social networks. eMarketer expects that by 2016, mobile coupon users will represent nearly 83 percent of all digital coupon users. This is huge!

The Revenue Opportunity
There are a number of different ways to engage consumers and drive revenue opportunities, including:

  • Coupons: Mobile coupon redemptions in the U.S. will exceed 53 million this year. The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption. (Source: Business Insider 2014)
  • Geo-Targeting: Geo-targeting has boosted the success of SMS-delivered coupons, with retailers seeing high redemption rates from coupons sent to consumers close to their stores.
  • Loyalty Programs: Consumers expect to be rewarded for brand loyalty, particularly millennials. A 2014 poll by Bond Brand Loyalty indicates that 6 in 10 millennial respondents would switch from brands they buy and two-thirds would change when and where they shop, if it meant getting a better loyalty program.

Don’t Forget the Tablet
Year after year, tablets are becoming an increasingly important part of a brands mobile strategy. According to eMarketer, in 2014, 80.2 percent of mobile coupon users will use a tablet for redemption, compared with 75.4 percent who will do so on a smartphone. Tablets are frequently used for in-home digital purchases, which boost tablet coupon redemption.

Coupons, geo-targeting, and loyalty programs can be offered, tracked, and monetized with a mobile engagement platform. Additional revenue opportunities include banner ads, mobile video, rich media and SMS campaigns. But keep in mind that more friction points in the redemption process will greatly reduce the use of mobile based offers. So keep it simple for consumers to redeem your offers.

The data from Black Friday on-line shopping as well as coupon redemption data from Cyber Monday should tell an interesting story for retailers who have made a strong commitment to mobile couponing to drive commerce and increase total purchases by incentivizing their consumers.

Tracking Mobile Ad Effectiveness With Real-Time Data

The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

The volume of mobile data and the speed at which it is created continues to increase as the global population increases, as mobile device penetration rates rise, and as the consumer usage rate for social media grows.

When analyzed effectively, this data can provide business insight on user sentiment, behavior and even physical movement patterns. Due to the sheer number of mobile devices in use, Big Data practitioners can tap mobile Big Data analytics to better understand trends across vast populations and sub-segments of users. This understanding helps business to improve engagement tactics and to optimize the delivery of services.

Mobile device data becomes particularly useful for analytics purposes when combined with extended data from outside sources. For example, weather and economic allow practitioners to correlate macro-level trends to a targeted set of users. These consumer segments have traditionally grouped users together based upon similarities. However, industry is increasingly focusing upon targeting towards individuals based upon their interests or upon their past behaviors.

Below you will find a number of ways you can apply real-time data analytics to your mobile marketing and advertising campaigns.

  • More Personalized and Targeted Ads
    Big data allows brands to better target users with more personalized interactions that drive engagement. We increasingly see ads featuring products and services we might actually want to use to make our lives better. These more personalized, more targeted ads are all based on massive amounts of personal data we constantly provide. Everywhere we go nowadays, we leave data crumbs. Following these trails reveals information about what we we’re doing, saying, liking, or sharing. Thanks to our mobile devices, this data trail now also hints at where we’re going.
  • Hyper-Localized Advertising
    The proliferation of mobile devices, primarily smartphones, has created a major opportunity for marketers to deliver contextual advertisements. These mobile-specific ads target the right people at the right time. For instance, through the combination of social data and location data, stores that shoppers are near and might be interested in can send out ads offering percentage discounts or other incentives. Delivered by shops to their shoppers in real time, these ads get consumers to walk through their doors. Hyper-localized advertising has been shown to increase customer engagement and conversion rates.
  • Leveraging Attribution to Achieve Mobile Engagement
    Leveraging Big Data about user behavior helps brands more accurately and completely quantify the effectiveness of their mobile marketing initiatives. Big data helps marketers determine whether their campaigns are creating the desired results. The ways users respond to branding assets can be used to literally create “rules of engagement” for each user or for each type of user. Marketers optimize their results through understanding varying levels of consumer engagement and through understanding the contributions of different campaigns across the path-to-purchase.
  • Real-Time Data Analytics Across the Complete Mobile Lifecycle
    In the past, conventional database solutions could be relied upon to effectively manage and analyze massively large data sets. But they did so at a snail-like pace, taking days and even weeks to perform tasks that often yielded “stale” results. By contrast, the big data analytics platforms of today can perform sophisticated processes at lightening-fast speeds, allowing for real-time analysis and insights. Shorter time to insight allows marketers to make real-time decisions and take immediate action based on fresh, reliable and relevant information.
  • Flip Traditional Consumer Profiling Upside-Down
    In the context of ubiquitous, real-time consumer data brands can now ask the data who their customers are. Contrast this to the erudite consumer profiling where consumers are targeted towards based upon their goodness of fit into an expected consumer picture. Rather than relying upon arcane consumer characteristics, instead we can now quantitatively choose targeting characteristics based upon the congruence of these characteristics with the desired call-to-action.

Brands are in desperate need for solutions that will help them understand the impact of their mobile advertising spend in the grand scheme of their broader marketing plan. This requires brands to go well beyond the click-through to be able to attribute their spend to in-store visits and better yet, sales.

Mobile Turning the Corner

In the past few years, mobile marketing and advertising have been largely an afterthought for many brands. But this year, the hype is finally coming to fruition with the growing intersection of mobile and the retail experience. This requires brands and retailers to take a very thoughtful approach with their mobile strategy.

In the past few years, mobile marketing and advertising have been largely an afterthought for many brands. But this year, the hype is finally coming to fruition with the growing intersection of mobile and the retail experience. This requires brands and retailers to take a very thoughtful approach with their mobile strategy.

1. Strategic Focus
This increased focus has accelerated even since last fall. Brands are thinking about mobile as a strategically integrated part of their marketing, rather than just a stand-alone tactic. Many are no longer questioning the value of mobile, but rather questioning how to get the most value from it.

2. Consumer Value
Many brands are looking to achieve that value by focusing on meaningful user engagement with brand identity and utility. They have matured from simple marketing (static banner ads, coupons and QR codes that merely offer to help a shopper “learn more”). Once again, content is king.

For example, ConAgra engages consumers on contextually relevant sites and apps with recipes. Rather than just announcing that their products are available, they help shoppers save time and energy. Who doesn’t want someone telling you what’s for dinner and how to easily prepare it?

Mattel is another company that’s using its brand identity to engage with consumers in highly relevant activity. When you think Mattel, you think toys and games. So, the company is gamifying its digital efforts, giving people something to do in their downtime that’s fun and interactive. There’s a significant correlation between entertaining engagement and shopper conversions.

3. App vs. Mobile Web
While there have been great strides in mobile marketing initiatives, there is still some confusion about the strategic delivery of the content. This primarily refers to the confluence of the terms “mobile app” and “mobile Web.”

While mobile apps and websites in theory serve the same purpose, in reality they are very different beasts to create and maintain, and consumers approach each differently.

One recent example was a mobile app for a single recipe ingredient. Really? How many people are going to take the time to seek out this app, download it and see enough utility to open and use it on a regular basis?

For many brands, a better way would be to create a responsive, mobile-optimized website. This way, the content is universally and easily available on all operating systems and device sizes. It can be accessed quickly by a shopper who responds to a mobile ad or texts in a keyword with no need to download and install an app. For marketers, mobile sites are considerably less expensive to build and maintain, and faster to update.

Mobile, as a marketing channel, can no longer be ignored and must be addressed in order to succeed. There are definitely others that will help advance a brands mobile strategy such as better targeting, more relevant engagement with consumers and shoppers at the various touch points on the path to conversion and stronger collaboration with brands and retailers.

Mobile Advertising Isn’t Just for Big Brands Anymore

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives. Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign

The increasing use of mobile devices, mobile Web, multiple advertising platforms and the advancement of network technologies creates new opportunities in the advertising market. According to BI Intelligence, spending on mobile advertising is set to reach $42 billion by 2018 and grow faster than all other digital marketing categories. That’s huge! But the reality is mobile advertising is still new to many businesses, so it’s important to take a strategic approach to these types of mobile initiatives.

Below you will find a baseline to help you get started on your new campaign.

  • Don’t Overthink It: In the transition from desktop to mobile, the classic banner ad has shrunk to 300×50, a tiny ad unit that does nothing to optimize the ad experience to mobile. As such, your mobile ad has only a limited window of opportunity to get through to your audience. This means that your mobile ads need to focus on a single message. Don’t try to cram too much text or any complicated images into your in-app banner ads. Keep it simple. One message at a time.
  • Understanding Leads to Personalized Experiences: Mobile ads are useful because brands can collect a lot of information about how consumers are interacting with their ads. For example, whether people are clicking on your ads (or not), and, more importantly, what are they doing beyond the click to build a deeper engagement with your brand. You can then use these events to better retarget customers and target similar customers (look-a-likes). The best thing about mobile is the ability to have at the very moment targeting: right time, right place and right device. The promise of hyper-local targeting is a huge benefit of mobile advertising.
  • Kickstart Relationships by Adding Value: One of the best ways to boost your mobile advertising campaign is to focus on adding value at every touch point. Also, with the increased focus on brand building ads, video and native ads, you can really create a dynamic and powerful customer experience. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to add value to your customers’ lives, sometimes providing useful content such as a white paper or informational video can be enough to start a relationship.
  • Test, Measure, Optimize, Repeat: One reason mobile ads don’t have to do it all is because it’s easy to create multiple versions and multivariate test them to see which works best. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not having developers test their ads. Experiment with different offers, different creative designs, and different messages. See what works best. You might be surprised—the message your team thought was clever may not resonate with customers. Sometimes even a simple change in text, design or details of your offer can pay huge dividends. Let the performance results speak for you and allow you to make powerful data driven decisions quickly to achieve your KPIs.

Mobile advertising will never be the end all, be all for companies. What marketers need to be focused on is, “how can you make sure that your mobile ads are doing enough?” By taking a personalized approach, with one specific behavior you’re trying to impact, and testing its effectiveness, you’ll find the right way to get big results from your small screen advertising.

Mobile’s Impact on the Consumer Path to Purchase

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. Additional research shows that digital advertising will overtake television advertising by 2017, due in large part to the growing popularity of online video, with sites like YouTube and Netflix. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront.

A digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for retailers and brands. If you don’t believe that, then you need to take a hard look at the following data points:

  • Mobile devices lead to in-store purchases. 52 percent of U.S. shoppers have used a mobile device to research products while browsing in a store.
  • Tablets are the cornerstone of online shopping. Tablets are expected to bring in $76 billion in online sales, two times that of mobile devices.
  • Digital content and mobile devices go hand in hand. According to eMarketer, U.S. adults will spend 23 percent of their time consuming media on a mobile device this year.
  • Mobile advertising is at its tipping point. Ad spend is expected to hit $31.45 billion this year. By 2018, it will top $94 billion.

How Do You Get There From Here?
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social.

Value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from mobile interactions. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.

Companies just getting started with cross-channel mobile marketing should focus on small wins. True cross-channel takes time and iteration, so commit to integrating what makes sense in the short, medium and long terms instead of trying to do everything simultaneously. Below you will find some key areas to consider when building out a mobile strategy:

1. Tablets, Smartphones and Watches, Oh My!
It will be vital for brands to take different form factors into account as they roll out their mobile campaigns. Mobile campaigns can quickly be compromised if brands don’t think about the impact on visuals and the call to action across various screen sizes.

2. The Mobile Marketing Tipping Point
Mobile marketing is evolving as more than just a tactic and is being embraced as a core part of the marketing strategy. With the goals being relatively the same as traditional marketing, marketers will be able to attract, engage and retain new and existing customers. Marketers will be able to target their audiences through highly relevant content based on location, interests and interactions throughout the mobile lifecycle.

3. Deliver a Seamless Experience From Discovery to Purchase
Brands have to make a conscious effort to remove the silos across organizations to be successful at mobile marketing. The goal of marketers should be to collaborate across initiatives by taking in to account different screen sizes, channels, design and messages to deliver ONE consistent experience to consumers.

4. Connecting the Dots Across all of the Consumer Lifecycle
As digital becomes a more integral part of the marketing strategy it will be vitally important to understand how mobile campaigns are performing across the entire customer lifecycle—including mobile ads and messaging, QR Codes, mobile website, branded apps and social media. With these insights, marketers will be able to optimize their campaigns to better understand the triggers that lead consumers down the path-to-purchase.

People everywhere are becoming more reliant on mobile devices and mobile websites to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. Brands have to make it easy for their customers to navigate mobile sites and quickly decide to purchase, regardless of what device they are on.

You Know Your Mobile Customers Better Than You Think

Consumers are generally very attached to their smartphones and only connect with those they trust. This very reason is why mobile marketing is perceived as a “friendlier” way to engage with consumers. Research shows 95 percent of mobile users read their text messages within three minutes. Now, imagine the impact your mobile marketing will have if you deliver relevant offers, mobile coupons and discounts to your customers-they are almost guaranteed to be read and are more than likely to be acted upon if the message is targeted based on the what you already know about the customer.

Consumers are generally very attached to their smartphones and only connect with those they trust. This very reason is why mobile marketing is perceived as a “friendlier” way to engage with consumers. Research shows 95 percent of mobile users read their text messages within three minutes. Now, imagine the impact your mobile marketing will have if you deliver relevant offers, mobile coupons and discounts to your customers—they are almost guaranteed to be read and are more than likely to be acted upon if the message is targeted based on the what you already know about the customer.

Over the last couple years, mobile marketing has proven itself as an effective way to acquire and maintain customer data. This is true because people generally keep their phone numbers forever compared to their email addresses. Therefore having strong persistent personal IDs, such as a phone number, enables brands to track, evaluate, and optimize their mobile marketing campaigns to determine overall effectiveness.

Leverage What You Already Know
There are major benefits from using mobile messaging as part of a brands overall marketing campaign. Now brands and organizations are tracking and segmenting the users who are in their marketing databases. Information that has been collected through loyalty programs, incentive based marketing and opt-in’s which enables brands to better understand their customers interests and what they will respond to.

Turn Loyalty Programs Into Customize Incentives
Connecting a consumer’s phone number to their loyalty program ID can turn generic SMS offers into customized incentives. If you know what your customers are buying, and more importantly, what incentives bring them into your stores, you can use this information to make offers more dynamic and personal. Which in turn will drive a higher return rate and increase on-going customer loyalty.

CRM and Triggered Messaging
Most CRM systems track events throughout the customer lifecycle. Many of these events represent an opportunity to sell more product and service. These events can be used to trigger personalized messages to your customers that facilitate the sales process. Include a click to call, or drive them to your e-commerce enabled website to move them to purchase faster. Make sure your website is mobile ready!

Extend Your Knowledge of Your Customers
Using Mobile Messaging in your retention marketing doesn’t have to be a one-way conversation. In addition to tying in what you already know about your customers within your CRM or loyalty databases, you can gain insight from the SMS interactions as well. An integration between your back-office systems and your SMS provider can push new data points into your database that round out your customer profiles and lead to additional re-marketing opportunities.

There is a lot that can be done with the information that is collected about customers within a CRM system. While this data can be a great resource for things like consumer segmentation and establishing marketing strategy, it can also be leveraged real-time on a very personal level. Leveraging this data via SMS or other mobile engagements can lead to greater results through right-time, right device, and the right-message that walk the customer down the path to purchase.

As brands continue to evolve their mobile marketing strategies through more personalized interactions, they will be able to build stronger relationships, increase engagement and drive loyalty.

Zeroing in on Your Consumers With Geo-Marketing

Mobile geo-marketing is growing at a rapid rate. This growth is driven by applications such as navigation, local search and social networking, as well as the public’s understanding of location-based marketing. With the increasing comfort level of sharing location data, brands are turning to location-based marketing to tap into consumers’ behavior to deliver more timely, personalized mobile experiences

Mobile geo-marketing is growing at a rapid rate. This growth is driven by applications such as navigation, local search and social networking, as well as the public’s understanding of location-based marketing. With the increasing comfort level of sharing location data, brands are turning to location-based marketing to tap into consumers’ behavior to deliver more timely, personalized mobile experiences.

Geo-marketing comes in a variety of flavors that utilize different technologies depending on how you are communicating with your consumers:

  • Geo-Fencing: This method is essentially a “virtual fence” designed to enclose a specific area for a marketing purpose. For example, a retailer can run a geo-fencing campaign where they “fence” in an area around their stores for the purpose of pulling in consumers who are near, but not shopping at their stores. Geo-fencing is not location detection in itself, but the geo-fences you setup—and the business rules you define as to what message to communicate to consumers when they are inside, or outside, those geo-fences—can be leveraged in conjunction with location detection capabilities.
  • Broad-Range Location: Some campaigns can leverage general area, such as city or ZIP code, to determine the right message to communicate. For example, an airline simply needs to know the metro area a consumer is closest to in order to personalize offers for flights out of the nearest airport. Location detection in this case does not need to be highly accurate to get the job done, and can generally be supported through most any mobile interaction.
  • Geo-Conquesting: This specific method of geo-targeting allows businesses to capture consumer spend away from competitors. The effectiveness of these campaigns can be further enhanced if the technology partner you are working with can layer on additional data that helps to understand the consumer better, such as third party sources that identify likelihood to purchase certain types of product.

For this article, let’s focus on geo-fencing. What you need to know is that geo-fencing simply needs to be paired up with a location detection technology, such as GPS or carrier network triangulation. Once detected to be inside a geo-fenced area, a brand can then alert potential customers who may not have visited your store otherwise. Retailers can also choose to send information, such as directions to the store, or run hyper-local promotions.

Retailer Takes Geo-Fencing to the Next Level
Belk, the nation’s largest family owned and operated department store, has added geo-fencing to drive in-store traffic and increase revenue across all of their stores by selecting very specific times, like major holidays (Easter and Mother’s Day) or sales (Belk Days) to geo-target customers with time sensitive coupons. For example, coupons for 20 percent off between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. were sent out to customers who were near a Belk store to act now before the coupon expires. By offering relevant, time-based coupons, Belk has been able to grow their mobile marketing database and target real customers more effectively.

More Data, No Problems
Today, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled smartphones are capable of aggregating and sharing huge amounts of data. This data is very helpful for marketers to get a better understanding of their consumers’ behavior and target them in a more relevant manner.

Geo-Fenced data can then be used to see which offers and locations actually attract more customers, and whether that translates into more sales. Other possible metrics include the effectiveness of advertising, how often a customer visits the store, and how long they shop for. Additionally, geo-fencing can lead to better customer rewards programs. Once you know where your customers are and how they behave, you can encourage and reward them effortlessly.

Geo-fencing gives the customer a much more personalized interaction with brands by offering them timely, relevant offers via their mobile devices. 

Although privacy has been a concern in the past, recent surveys show that customers are happy to trade their personal information in favor of receiving special offers —but it needs to be additive, not intrusive. If it’s done right geo-fencing will revolutionize location-based sales and drive customer loyalty.

Why Contextual Advertising Is Still Hard

Contextualized advertising is serving the right message to the right person at the right time. Standing in the way of that goal are several hurdles. Among them: user personalization, segmentation and a deluge of data

Contextualized advertising is serving the right message to the right person at the right time. Standing in the way of that goal are several hurdles. Among them: user personalization, segmentation and a deluge of data.

Mobile personalization can create additional complexities that we don’t generally see on the PC side of the world. This can be both a challenge and an opportunity, but adds some new dimensions to how we work to connect with consumers.

This difficulty in leveraging user behaviors makes micro-segmentation more difficult. This is where real value from contextualized ads is found. As close to one-to-one as you can make an ad, the more value it has for the recipient. Having segments that are too large can decrease the overall impact of the ads for a given consumer.

Advertisers can improved their segmentation by sifting through omnichannel data sets. While there’s great progress in this area, attributing online, real world and mobile actions to an end result remains elusive to some of the industry.

New Tools Making Contextual Advertising Easier
New data tools, optimization techniques and leveraging exchanges are all emerging to make contextual advertising easier.

Algorithms that can recognize and contextualize mixed data sets are paving the way for more relevant contextual ads. You can target based on location (information that’s automatically provided by a mobile device), behavior and by predetermined personalization rules. So, someone is now seen as a specific category of user based on what they do, where they are and other relevant data. Messages can be personalized based on these characteristics to get the right ad in front of the right person.

Once a user can be tied to a mobile number, this opens up a world of contextual opportunities. These IDs can be closely tied to segment and location, and passed along to real-time-bidding (RTB) exchanges. Here, brands and advertisers can serve a contextualized ad to the correct mere moments after he/she makes a trigger action. Where as before, this data would be aggregated and analyzed monthly or weekly, we are getting close to the point of real time analysis and optimization.

The Impact of Future Technology and Contextual Ads
The “Holy Grail” of contextual advertising is connecting relevant ads that are optimized for a single individual. Technology is heading in that direction.

Wearables will feed advertisers never before accessible biometrics that could indicate when someone needs a sandwich or bottle of water before the person realizes it.

Interactive TVs and cross-screen attribution will pull together all parts of a person’s day. Ambient qualities, like time of day or weather, will become data points that advertisers can assess and use to target consumers.

As these technologies, combined with faster servers, make valuable contextual advertising an everyday occurrence, we will see a shift in the advertiser/consumer relationship. It will become more symbiotic. Users will be able to decide with what and whom they want to interact. Those advertisers who can use data to provide users the greatest value will prosper. Those who can’t make sense of data will suffer as consumers take their business elsewhere with a quick click on an iPhone.