In the marketing world, we often hear the consumer journey talked about as a series of ‘moments’. This is the very real notion that we all live our lives on a multi-channel, nonlinear journey that can be broken down into multiple instances of consumer intent.
As part of this journey, we’re constantly looking for the products we need—from purchasing our first car, to buying a cup of coffee—to complete every moment.
Understandably for marketers, these moments carry a lot of weight. They represent the times when a consumer is most open to adopt, acquire, or consume a product or service, and are the ideal opportunities to deliver a relevant call to action.
Taking advantage of these opportunities means tapping into multiple data sources that encompass everything from demographic and psychographic, to contextual and search data. But of all these data sources, nothing is more potent for connecting with a consumer at exactly the right time than location.
From mobile to mobility
Location-enabled advertising isn’t new; it’s been talked about and practiced for some time. But the technology is really starting to catch up to allow marketers to take full advantage.
The proliferation of smartphones—almost 79 percent of people in Australia (and 45 percent overall in Asia-Pacific) now own one—is of course playing a significant role in driving this growth. Think about the last time you checked into a restaurant on Facebook, tagged the bar you visited with your friends on an Instagram picture, ordered an Uber, or even looked for nearby ‘matches’ on Tinder. Location data is holding increased value as a currency for consumers and brands alike, especially with smartphones being the one device that comes with us everywhere.
The mobility of these connected devices makes them the most versatile communication channel of all thanks to the potential they offer to mine real-time insights based on a consumer’s location. If search is the greatest measure of consumer intent online, then location has to be the ultimate measure of intent in the real world.
Choose your moments
So, just how sophisticated have location targeting capabilities become? Advances in geo-targeting and geo-fencing means we’re now able to track a consumer right down to the building he or she is in and serve ads when it’s most relevant in their journey. For example, resolution down to the level of specific buildings is now possible, in real-time.
So now buying location-based mobile ads is as easy as purchasing a search campaign, but it is far more effective at identifying the crucial moment in the purchase journey. And when paired up with real-time programmatic insights across multiple channels, the location proposition becomes even more powerful.
Opportunities on the horizon
The power of location as a marketing tool uncovers the potential to marry advertising with hyper targeting across multiple media types. Mobile and location have for example the potential to extend OOH campaigns, particularly as more billboards become increasingly digitised.
The challenge is creating a platform where the data from mobile, location and OOH speak the same language. For now the data from these three areas are still in silos, but there are positive signs this is beginning to change, with Clear Channel recently announcing it was partnering with AT&T to track people’s travel patterns and behaviours through their mobile phones.
The other issue is that some technology providers don’t offer the level of accuracy they should do, relying on cellular towers that are only accurate to within a mile. So unless you want to risk targeting hugely inaccurate audiences, it’s crucial for advertisers to work with ad partners who have the capability to target consumers within locations and at scale.
The location awakening has only just begun and with the technology evolving so rapidly it won’t be long before the marketing world can use this incredible tool to its full potential. The tide is already turning, as evidenced in the 2016 Global Mobile Survey by ExchangeWire Research in association with Rubicon Project, which found that 75 percent of brand buyers and over a quarter (27 percent) of agencies predicted that between 81 percent and 100 percent of their mobile buys would be location-enabled in 2016.
The signs are clear: if marketing moments are the new battleground for brands, then location data will undoubtedly become one of the most important weapons in a marketer’s arsenal.
Rick Mulia is managing director for JAPAC with Rubicon Project.