Using Geolocation to your Advantage

September 04, 2014


Since its introduction to the advertising industry, geolocation has been quite the buzzword, perceived as one of the main advantages of mobile devices compared to PCs for advertisers. One of the mobile marketing opportunities that brands can take advantage of is to use geolocation technology to reach users with timely messages on their own devices. The ultimate objective is to drive customers to the brand where sales can be closed.

However, accurate geolocation has been slow to take off. There are some key things that have coincided to make it more successful, at scale now:

The rise of apps

In the days of mobile web, location based information was not something easily or regularly shared. The increased use of mobile apps and an increase in the number of apps that use location information to operate (e.g. local restaurants) has resulted in users becoming more comfortable and more willing to share that detail. It is now much easier for users to enable/disable location sharing as well, often with just one click, and as users feel more comfortable doing so geolocated advertising inventory has significantly increased.

Real-time Bidding (RTB)

Real time marketplaces have resulted in greater aggregation of different types of inventory, with a few ad exchanges being the gateway to most in-app ad inventory.

Thanks to these two drivers, it’s now possible to launch geolocation-based campaigns with big enough reach and greater advertising effectiveness. Users can now naturally receive advertising campaigns that take into consideration their location, while browsing through apps.

Why geolocation?

Using geolocation on a mobile advertising campaign may or may not make sense depending on the goals of the campaign.

These are some examples of how geolocation can be used effectively:

· Drive traffic to physical locations:

One of the advantages of geolocation is that advertisers with a physical presence can limit their campaign to the geographic area close to their points of sale, with the goal to drive traffic to their stores. Let’s imagine an advertiser has a certain special offer in its stores. Geolocation can impact only users located within a few hundred meters of the stores, and, if the user clicks on the banner, it will open up a map with directions to the closest location and a discount coupon that can be redeemed in the store.

· Customise the message according to the location:

It is possible to adapt the advertising campaign to the user’s location in order to maximise the conversion rate. For example, if a user is physically close to the advertiser’s point of sale, (s)he will be shown an in-store offer and directions to the store. If the user isn’t close to the store, (s)he will be shown a generic offer linking to the web, the mobile app or a call centre.

· Reaching your target audience based on their location:

It is possible to use geolocated campaigns to reach an audience whose interests have been made clear based on the places they frequent.

There are two possible types of campaigns of this sort:

Campaigns based on static locations, also called geofenced campaigns. Imagine, for example, how advertisers in the travel industry may want to run campaigns around airports or train stations. These campaigns will only be seen by users physically present at those locations.

Campaigns based on dynamic location, that is, campaigns targeted to users whose behavioural profiles have been created based on their geolocated movements. Imagine a campaign targeted to those users that frequently visit airports, who can be profiled as frequent travellers, but that can be seen in any location.

For marketers who are ahead of the geolocation curve, there are many reasons to plan and implement a solid location-based mobile marketing strategy — if they don’t, they risk losing market share to mobile-savvy competitors.

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