Here is a familiar situation: you are walking down a street and (provided that your GPS is on and you have a Wi-Fi signal) you go past a storefront that then serves your phone a mobile ad or coupon offer. But what if there were so many brick-and-mortar stores on that street that the ad you were served was for the wrong store? Or maybe you get the right ad for a store you usually frequent, but at that time when you are passing it, you don’t need it? The above scenarios are both a misplaced opportunity and a missed advertising opportunity. In reality, these are the best that current mobile location technology can offer consumers at the moment. But what if the mobile location were much more precise? What could be the benefits for mobile advertisers?
Going for a Swim or Doing Deadlifts?
Today we can, with some certainty, see where a mobile user might be at a specific place and time, but what can brands/marketers really understand? For instance, what if the sporting goods company could tell if a gym person goes swimming as part of her regular workout or prefers weightlifting? If the company knew which she preferred, it means that it could serve her Marketing messages that she may respond to, as there’s a world of difference in her personality and buying needs between these two activities.
Mobile advertising can be much more effective for brands and feel more natural to the people they are trying to reach. Current GPS tech might indicate a person’s whereabouts, but it cannot determine whether that person is open to a particular Marketing message at that particular time.
For instance, it might be possible to tell that someone is going to drop off their child at kindergarten every day, but they won’t have much need for a diaper commercial delivered to them as they are pulling out of the school’s parking lot. However, when people are at work or home, standing in front of products in a store, or when they are doing online shopping, that might be a better time for mobile marketers to reach them and to complete the cycle.
LBA is the Way
Using precise location-based services (LBS) technology that is able to show users’ locations, whether they be indoor or outdoor, will facilitate faster, more accurate and more relevant advertising. This is because precise LBS technology can determine the location as less than a foot and a half accuracy as opposed to today’s prevalent 16 feet of accuracy and it happens in real-time.
Hence, LBS enabled smartphones, wearables, and other mobile gear means that brands will only send mobile users relevant messages to their phones that will appear when they stand in front of a shop or a product in a way that is less intrusive and addressees both consumer intent and location. Thus, LBS would enable LBA – location-based advertising that would allow national brands to operate as local brands, directing highly personalized messages to people based on their exact locations.
LBA will also allow for better attribution in Omnichannel campaigns. For example, advertisers could tie an ad to a person’s in-store visit during the time after the user had been there, in case they are visiting the store’s e-commerce site to make a possible purchase. This is a crucial missing link in today’s Digital Advertising paradigm and can become a new KPI, all while truly contacting the real world and online activities in an accurate way.
Imagine how a retail store could use LBS to better understand their customers if they could better determine their movements. They could measure the time a person stood near a specific sign/shelf and/or the percentage of time they were in the store vs. other people who were there at the same time. Furthermore, it could all be done using existing mobile infrastructure, without the retailer having to invest in multiple, disparate technologies and platforms to complete the connection. Most importantly, the store could do this without invading consumers’ privacy, as the tracking determination would operate on the mac addresses of their mobile devices, which would not reveal personal data.
The Promise of What’s to Come
Ultimately, precise location-based services will deliver on the promise of IoT, which will change the functions and expectations of consumer goods and services. As the deployment of this technology is inevitable, brands and advertisers should begin to prepare their mobile ad strategies accordingly (through internal marketing departments or with outside agencies). For those who are ready to deliver precise, targeted mobile ads in a way that will meet consumer motivations will be the brands that are able to shine both creatively and financially in the long run.