Marketers, Are You Going OOH With Data? Let Consumers Know Why

Mobile, social, and other digital media are increasingly connected to OOH advertising. One of my pet peeves is that when I’m in my home or office, or out and about, I receive real-time reminders about using my geolocation (really, a proximity). And that’s all they say. Period.

My precise location is here. Well, it was here — when I wrote this.

One of my peeves is that when I’m in my home or office, or out and about, I receive real-time reminders that this application, or that plug-in, or this website, would like to detect and use my geolocation (really, a proximity). And that’s all they say. Period.

It’s most usually a short “push notice” — combined with an “accept,” “allow,” or “OK” button to indicate my consent. Most of the time I click in the affirmative, and move on. But as a consumer, I am sometimes left curious as to why. Which is why I’m frustrated.

Notices: Give Me a Push, With a Reason to Pull

My preference would be for a slightly longer notice explaining why my location would be helpful — for the digital property to induce or invite me to send my acceptance more readily.

  • Is my known location being used to improve my user experience, by unlocking a functionality that is location-dependent?
  • Is it to serve interest-based ads on the site or app that are location-relevant?
  • Is such data shared with anyone else — and if so, why?
  • Is it a combination of these?

Sometimes, the need for geolocation is a seemingly obvious request. To use an app for maps, traffic, weather or news pertinent to my location is certainly agreeable. I get it. But if there are reasons beyond user utility, a consumer ought to know what those other purposes are. And I’m not talking about a paragraph buried in Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policies — as important as those disclosures are.

Take advertising. I actually opt for data collection to enable more relevant ads. I understand why such ads exist — and use far more free services, content, and conveniences that are paid for by sponsors and advertisers, who gain access data about me, than I would otherwise pay for myself. Most Americans — and probably most global citizens — like free stuff and increasingly understand this pragmatic, useful exchange. It just doesn’t need to be behind a curtain. There should be no mystery.

This is where self-regulation (disclaimer, I work for the Digital Advertising Alliance, DAA) and privacy-by-design step in: Just tell me why you want to use it! And let me make an informed decision regarding my consent.

Location Data Has Sensitivity — So Transparency and Choice Must Be Heightened

Location data can be sensitive. Advertising may be a helpful use — but what of stalking, civil rights, employer monitoring, government surveillance? And even advertising has a “no” factor, if an algorithm inadvertently discriminates, or a “creep” concern if you feel you’re being unwittingly followed (that is, your device) around a shopping mall or grocery store. (Even if I get a coupon offer.)

So, if we are — as we should — going to be transparent with a push notice, make it short, sweet — and explain in short copy why it is helpful to consumer experience. It only takes a phrase, or a bullet point or two, to explain how and why such data collection serves such outcomes.

That was a key point that Senny Boone, SVP of accountability for the Association of National Advertisers, explained at a recent presentation, which was sponsored by Geopath, a location-based marketing trade organization; and PMD Media, a targeted outdoor and digital advertising firm.

“Business needs to grow. New growth is based on new data and new information provided by consumer interaction, behavior, and insights,” she said, noting the rising importance of place-based information. “Consumers seek more data privacy as business and technology provide less privacy protection and more data tracking — or that is the perception.”

So are we in a conflict with the consumer here? Is this loss of privacy perception accurate?

We shouldn’t be in conflict — if we believe in transparency, she said, and have privacy and a consumer focus in our brand culture.

If you adhere to codes brought forth by our trade associations — both advertising and out-of-home — which largely have synced up in line with DAA Principles, then you are in good company, Boone said.

Give Me One Reason to Stay Here and I’ll Turn Right Back Around

This is particularly true regarding geolocation data, where enhanced notice through push notifications are required — but with a rationale as part of the push. Only then can meaningful consumer consent be given. Last month, two BBB National Programs enforcement cases, successfully resolved, highlighted the need for such enhanced notice. One case involved a fitness app specifically seeking to use location data for interest-based advertising. Takeaway: Use the enhanced notice for location data consent to explain why.

Boone went on to say that mobile, social, and other digital media are increasingly connected to out-of-home (OOH) advertising. She pointed to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America code that says:

We support responsible use of data for advertising purposes. We recognize that mobile phone and digital technology bring benefits to consumers seeking information, way-finding, entertainment, and connection to others. Increasingly, mobile-social-and-online media are connected to OOH advertising. We encourage member companies to work with suppliers that provide appropriate notice and control for the collection of precise location data from mobile phone devices used for advertising purposes. Anticipating technological changes, OAAA will continue to monitor developments in this area.”

Yes, that digital billboard you’re standing near may be wanting to interact with you. Location-based marketing is only set to grow. So make sure to undertake a data audit, know your location data partners, adhere to laws that may exist for any jurisdiction (GDPR, CCPA, etc.) — and follow industry codes for privacy ethics and best practices.

And tell me why my location is so darn useful to me as a consumer — rather than you as the marketer — when such data is sought. Not only is such explanation respectful and ethical, it serves to educate the market about why relevant ads may be that much more engaging (rather than annoying).

Perception is reality, and right now, we need to do a lot more education to get consumers — pragmatic as we are in our behavior — to get our attitudes to match.

 

 

 

 

Think of Food Nutrition Labels. Now, There’s Audience Data Labeling

This summer — this “nutritional” label for commercially available audience data, which vendors, agencies, advertisers and publishers can use to understand the sourcing of targeting data and how it is prepared for market — is ready for marketplace use.

Last fall, I reported briefly on an industry initiative related to “data labeling” a bid to provide transparency of data sourcing for audience data used in digital and mobile marketing. DataLabel.org is an initiative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the IAB Tech Lab. (At the time of inception, the Data & Marketing Association now the Data Marketing Analytics division of the Association of National Advertisers was also at the table.)

This summer this “nutritional” label for commercially available audience data, which vendors, agencies, advertisers and publishers can use to understand the sourcing of targeting data and how it is prepared for market is ready for marketplace use.  (From a June 27 IAB Tech Lab press release🙂

“Data transparency is a table-stakes requirement to ensure responsible and effective use of audience data and companies that provide consistent access to detailed information about their data will attract more business,” said Dennis Buchheim, EVP and general manager at IAB Tech Lab. “Taking part in the corresponding compliance program will further differentiate an organization, affirming their full commitment to the highest standards.”

Transparency in Data Sourcing Matters

I remember hearing IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg admonishing the ad tech ecosystem in early 2017 to get out of the “fake anything” business, and arguably the effects of fraud, brand safety, and other concerns have led many advertising and marketing professionals to scour their data sourcing, permissions, stacking, integrating, and statistical analyzing to make sure that an otherwise reputable company is not engaged with anything untoward on the data front.

DataLabel.org supports this objective, in part, and goes further.  While it does not assign a quality score to any particular data source, it does enable apples-to-apples comparisons in important areas, (Opens as a PDF) which inform where media dollars based on audience data are committed:

Data Labeling label
Source: DataLabel.org

Yes, it’s an agnostic nutritional data label for data sourcing. Through IAB et al, dozens of companies were part of a working group that led to the Data Transparency Standard, Version 1.0 (a PDF download] led by Meredith Digital, Lotame Solutions and Pandora, among its supporting cast.

Does ‘Table-Stakes’ Mean Traction? You Look Good Dressed, in Responsible Data

According to the IAB, “completion of the program requires an annual business audit to confirm that the information provided within the labelling is reliable, that the organization has the necessary systems, processes, and personnel in place to sustain consistent label completion at scale, and that a label can be produced for all in-market segments available. Engagements typically range between [two to five] months, depending upon the size and complexity of the company’s business.”

So now that’s the Data Label is available to the data-driven marketing marketplace, is there real traction to see its use?  From the data provider side, at least, I’d say so.  While some may be taking a wait-and-see approach, some data marketing companies are moving forward with data labeling and transparency certification.

“The digital ecosystem tends to focus on areas like inventory and traffic,” said Chris Hemick, senior product marketing manager, Alliant, whose company is now in the onboarding process. “Alliant is an advocate for bringing the same level of focus to the data marketplace. We firmly believe that IAB’s efforts to spotlight data provider practices around audience creation will be a positive for the entire industry.”

Another data provider, Audience Acuity, echoes these sentiments. “The concept of the Data Transparency Label was introduced in the fourth quarter of last year, after it was developed by the ANA’s Data Marketing Analytics (DMA) division, the IAB Tech Lab, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), and the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF),” said Riad Shalaby, CMO of Audience Acuity. “We are aligned with their perspective on this important topic, and we are delighted to be one of the first major data companies in the United States to provide this level of transparency.”

There are many things we, as data marketing professionals, need to concern ourselves with in best practices, ethics, and even legal compliance. Brand safety, ad measurement, piracy, privacy and security, and fake anything are among them. Proper data governance is related to all of these concerns. The more we spotlight our roles as stewards of and for data integrity, the better we can achieve marketplace confidence and trust in the very information that helps make brand-consumer engagement succeed.

Increase Traffic Using Direct Mail With Geomapping

Are you driving enough traffic to your business or event with your current direct mail campaigns? Personalized direct mail pieces with an added personalized map can help increase your visits and event attendance. Direct mail with geomapping allows you to create customized maps.

Are you driving enough traffic to your business or event with your current direct mail campaigns? Personalized direct mail pieces with an added personalized map can help increase your visits and event attendance. Direct mail with geomapping allows you to create customized maps based on your prospect or customer’s mailing address and the location of your business or event.

There are many ways to do this and different features. Let’s take a look.

Map Style Options

  1. Driving or Walking Directions For people who are really close, you may want to offer walking maps.
  2. Fastest or Shortest Routes The fastest routes are not always the shortest distance, so you have your choice of which one you wish to offer.
  3. Map Size Depending on your design, you may want a larger map size.
  4. If you have Multiple Locations, you can have maps for each one, or choose the location closest to the individual you are mailing to.
  5. You can Add Your Logo to the Destination on the map.
  6. Pick a Route Color for Your Map Stand out with vibrant colors.
  7. You can Provide Travel Time.
  8. Add Turn-by-Turn Directions, if you wish.
  9. Multiple Route Options on the Same Map, with different color highlights.

As you can see, there are several options you can choose from. Not only can you use these maps on your direct mail pieces, but you can use them in multichannel campaigns, as well. Remember, the more touches you have with prospects and customers, the more likely they are to respond. It’s not every day that you get a mail piece with a custom map on it. That level of personalization makes your customers and prospects feel special.

The personalized maps are not only eye catching, but super functional. Show people how easy it is to reach you. You can also remove people from your list who are too far away to want to drive to your location. That way, you save money by not sending to people who will not attend. Not only that, if you have multiple locations, you can list three choices for them, with maps to each one. List the closest one first, followed by second and third. This is very helpful when you have events on different days at different locations. They now get to choose what works best for them. Your prospects and customers want to know how long it will take to get to your location or event. So tell them.

Who can help you with personalized geomapping? Here are some providers:

Maps are a great way to grab attention and drive traffic to your location or event. They also help you connect with your prospects and customers at a deeper level, because you are talking directly to them with an easy way to reach you. Some businesses have seen a 6% or better lift by adding personalized maps. Are you ready to get started?

Back to Basics: 5 Simple Tactics to Improve Local SEO You Can Do Right Now

The Internet offers unprecedented reach to connect with far-away customers, but shoppers often prefer to buy goods and services from local merchants. Think of it this way: If you owned a plumbing business, a shoe store or a car dealership, would you rather rank high in search results all over the country, or primarily in the area where you live?

Local information is growing in importance when it comes to ranking highly in Google results.The Internet offers unprecedented reach to connect with far-away customers, but shoppers often prefer to buy goods and services from local merchants. Think of it this way: If you owned a plumbing business, a shoe store or a car dealership, would you rather rank high in search results all over the country, or primarily in the area where you live?

That’s why local SEO is such a big deal.

A website that implements local SEO best practices will be easily found by nearby shoppers. Also, the rise of mobile search technology is making local SEO even more important considering the hyper-local searches in Google for “[product/service] near me”. Depending on how much competition you face, a poor local SEO strategy could render your business invisible to folks who are seeking your goods and services.

Want your business to appear on top of the rankings when local customers search for relevant keywords? Improving your position in the search engines doesn’t happen overnight, but these five changes to your local SEO strategy can start you in the right direction.

Tip 1: Create a Local Business Page on Google
Each of the three major search engines — Google, Bing and Yahoo — offer places to create pages specifically for your business. For example, on Google, you’ll want to create a page using the Google My Business service.

Why is this important?

Take a look at the search results for “dentist near me” and you’ll see a big map at the top of the search results, along with relevant information for local dental offices listed below. These listings are not websites!  They are Google My Business profiles.

That means if you don’t have a Google My Business profile, then your business will not rank high in Google when prospects are searching for you.

Tip 2: Add Location Pages to Your Website
More people now search for goods and services on their mobile devices — often while out and about — and Google is returning more hyper-local results to fulfill their needs. For example, if you need a nearby plumber, then you might search “plumber near 10011.” Or if you need a hardware store, then you might search “hardware store in flatiron nyc.”

Google’s goal is to rank the most relevant websites high in the results so the businesses that have specific, 100 percent relevant pages have an advantage.

What’s the key takeaway?

If you serve multiple locations, then consider creating dedicated pages for each location. These location specific pages will naturally be more relevant, so Google will be more likely to rank them high in the search results when prospects are searching keywords that include the respective location.

Tip 3: Get Reviewed
Online reviews can be a bit frightening — the last thing you want is a scathing review that turns potential customers away. However, Google gives search ranking boosts to businesses that get more reviews.

Plus, most prospective customers now want to see reviews before reaching out to a business to avoid wasting time. Think about your own shopping experience — why would you buy from an anonymous business when you could choose a merchant that’s been thoroughly reviewed?

There’s no silver bullet solution when it comes to getting online reviews. The best approach is to create a system for requesting feedback and ask every happy customer for an online review. Not everyone will do it, but as you gain more and more reviews, your rankings will start to improve.

Tip 4: Build Citations
A citation is simply a mention of your name, address and phone number, and Google uses citations in their local search engine algorithm.

Long story short, you need a lot of citations if you want to rank high in Google’s local results. Essentially, that means creating accounts on business directories. As you list your business information in these directories, you’ll gain more of Google’s trust, which translates into higher rankings.

For a quick snapshot of your citations, use the Moz Local tool. This tool will list any important citation opportunities that you are missing, as well as highlight duplicates and/or inconsistent information across existing citations. Start by fixing all the problems listed in this tool and then work on building even more citations to boost your rankings.

Tip 5: Get Social
Social media is taking over. Although Google is still the most popular search engine, Facebook has become a major source of information for many of your prospective customers.

In addition, David Mihm’s recent research about the local SEO ranking factors suggests that social media activity is one of the many signals Google uses to rank businesses.

Regardless of whether Google directly uses social media signals in their algorithm, there is no denying that social media marketing is a huge opportunity to get your business in front of your target audience. Facebook alone reaches all age brackets, all income levels, and spans urban, suburban and rural areas.

It’s no longer a question of whether or not your customers are using social media. The only question is are you using it to effectively get in front your customers?

Want More Local SEO Tips?
Click here to get the Ultimate Local SEO Checklist.  In this checklist you’ll get 79 expert tips to improve your local search rankings.

3 Ways to Make Your Direct Mail Maps Great

Maps are a pretty common element in direct mail. Whether it’s an insurance agent looking for leads, or a retail brick-and-mortar store trying to create traffic, maps can provide a lot of information quickly to a customer. But the effectiveness of those maps — how well they do their jobs — varies widely based on the mail I see every day.

Maps are a pretty common element in direct mail. Whether it’s an insurance agent looking for leads, or a retail brick-and-mortar store trying to create traffic, maps can provide a lot of information quickly to a customer. But the effectiveness of those maps — how well they do their jobs — varies widely based on the mail I see every day.

As the director and archivist of Who’s Mailing What!, I keep folders of mail and email details that aren’t part of our website. These are subjective things you can’t measure or quantify, or find in a database search, like great envelope teasers, best practice order forms, or emails using effective testimonials. You get the idea.

Based on what I found in my map folder, here are three tips on what to do — and what to improve upon — in creating direct mail that can drive customers to the front door of any business.

1. Make the Maps Clear
As an important supporting element in a direct mail package, a map should make it as easy as possible for a prospect to find you and do business with you. This overcomes a common objection – “I don’t know how to find you” – as your mail gets read, and, then, is acted upon, saved, or tossed into the recycling bin.

Inova_01This 6”x11” postcard was mailed by Inova, a healthcare system based in Northern Virginia. Covering its entire front, the well-rendered, readable street map pinpoints the urgent care facility’s location, as well as those of nearby landmarks like parks and shopping centers. Alongside a photo of the center, the street address — perfect for finding on a GPS device — is also provided.

In sharp contrast, below is a map from a mailer for a Kia dealership. Measuring a measly 1-1/2”x1-1/2” on a 5-1/2”x8-1/2” panel, important details like street names and route numbers are blurry and nearly impossible to read.

KIA_012. Make the Maps Relevant
Providers of medical services, such as hospitals and care centers, are big users of maps in direct mail, and probably the best at it. In promoting these vital services, it isn’t enough to list the location of the nearest facility, it has to be shown on a map. New movers are a particularly good target market for this kind of mail.

Comcast_01Comcast promoted a new XFINITY store with a self-mailer that included a large map on the inside. It’s positioned near the center of one panel, across from copy and images that promote the wide array of products and services demonstrated and offered there. There’s also an incentive offered for a visit:  a “free gift”.

3. Make the Maps Personal
Why use a generic map when customized variable mapping can make the journey personal? Leveraging personal data, like an address, on a visual, printed mailpiece is a powerful service offered by a number of providers. Without getting creepy, it grabs the customer’s attention by showing his or her home’s location in relation to the business being promoted by the mailer.

Here’s a good example, from Patient First, a chain of urgent and ready care centers.

PF_01Above the indicia on this 5-3/4”x11” postcard, there’s a unique map that shows the recipient’s location (the “You are here” designation), the new Patient First Center, and the driving route between them. It’s readable and bigger than what you’ll see in almost any direct mail package, measuring 2-3/4″ x 4-3/4.”

At the same time, there’s still plenty of real estate on the left to include messaging, like letting the addressee know that they’re only “8 minutes away” from the new center. Bullet points list the center’s hours and the medical services it offers. And the call to action also pushes a gift: a first aid kit.

When you think of all the kinds of businesses that would love traffic driven to their doors — retail, insurance, financial institutions, automotive, museums and zoos, travel offices, restaurants — the power of the individualized map becomes even more apparent. And adding other relevant overlays — based on previous purchases, or gender, for example — can increase ROI even further.