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Could Location be the Future of Advertising?

August 22, 2018 at 1:47 PM

“The three most important things in retail are location, location, location. The three most important things for our consumer business are technology, technology, technology.” – Jeff Bezos

***This is the third and final part of a 3 part series we are doing on the future of advertising. If you enjoy starting at the end and working backward, more power to you. But, if you would like to start more towards the beginning, take a look at Part I and Part II.

The perfect intersection between data & traditional advertising.

Traditional advertising agencies are getting old, and with age, they’re dropping like flies. Yet, for every agency that is whipping out the ladder and taking down the shingle, there are just as many finding their footing and even excelling towards advertising brilliance.

Agencies are discovering success in the new age of advertising through a diverse set of strategies touched on in Part II of this mini-series: Agencies of the Future.

Some agencies are going big and offering a wide range of innovative services, while others are narrowing their focus and finding one or two services that they do really well. Some agencies are going long on venture capital for the slim chance to strike it big banking on risky brands with massive upside, while others are niching down to ultra-specific industries like healthcare.

However, there is one strategy we touched on briefly towards the latter part of last week’s article… a strategy we have noticed the majority of agencies are overlooking.

It’s a strategy that some advertisers are viewing as a threat to their organization but one that just might serve as a tool that could make them, their agency and the brands they manage millions. Take a wild guess at what it is… drumroll please.


Location, location, location

Location, Location, Location.

By the year 2021, some experts are predicting that location-targeted mobile advertising is expected to reach $32 billion. At first glance, this might appear to be an absurdly large number; but when you consider how location has been a key component of advertising and marketing since the beginning of time, it’s not all that far-fetched.

The ancient Egyptians were some of the first recorded advertisers in human history, printing sales messages on papyrus and sticking them to city walls. While one must be careful to make 5,000-year-old assumptions, you’d think the people who built The Great Pyramid of Giza were smart enough to not throw up street ads in low-trafficked areas of their city.

However, while location has always been a pillar of advertising, it’s infamously been a big hairy ambiguous problem that at times feels like throwing darts in the dark.

Not to mention, as physical stores have gone digital, location has become multi-faceted. No longer are advertisers faced with the challenge of determining where their target market hangs out in the physical world… now they're challenged with understanding the digital realm too.

Location is no longer strictly about figuring out where to place your Pringle cans in the grocery store or what billboards around the nation make the most sense to spend millions on. Now, location can include placing a beautifully designed advertisement on websites your target market most often frequents. Or, creating an audio ad on Spotify that plays between songs that your target market most often listens to.

This meshing of physical and digital worlds combined with the level of importance location plays in advertising (and will only continue to play) is the very reason why location-targeted mobile marketing might be the future.


Combining location and data lets advertisers reach the people most likely to convert

Location-targeted mobile marketing –– where worlds collide.

While location has become increasingly challenging, we know three things…

  1. Just about everyone has a mobile device on them at all times.
  2. Everyone is moving around the physical world.
  3. How people move around the physical world is telling of their buying behavior.

Location-targeted mobile marketing combines these three truths and offers advertisers the powerful opportunity to target customers at times and places when they are most likely to purchase a specific product or service. In addition, it allows advertisers to draw insights from their customer’s behavior in the physical world.

To use an example, let’s say you own a gourmet BBQ chain in the city of Chicago. Location-targeted mobile marketing like Spatially allows you to send a personalized advertisement to your customer’s mobile device when they are within a one-mile radius of your shop. And it enables you to send that advertisement at a time when your customer is most likely to stop by for lunch –– noon.

This is a rudimentary example, obviously, but it should depict just how powerful this technology is. The days of throwing up billboards and crossing fingers are over. With Spatially, advertisers can now sift through the tyre-kickers and focus their advertising budget on the customers that are most likely to bite. After All, there is no reason to waste an impression on a vegan –– that is if you’re in the business of BBQ. 

But, besides allowing advertisers to target customers at the right place and time, location-targeted mobile marketing also allows them to gain a better understanding of where their customer go before they make a purchase and where they go after. This can give advertisers a peek into customer behavior, interests, spending habits, beliefs, values and hobbies. Or, rather, the customer’s entire life.

Here’s what this will look like when it comes to customer profiles:

Before Spatially ––

Our customers are mostly men who love BBQ.

After Spatially ––

Our customers are 90% male between the ages of 25-34. They earn $60,000+ a year and work primarily white-collar careers. While we assumed they would like football and beer, we’ve found they are extremely active and have interests like rock climbing, hiking and biking. They frequent coffee shops, indoor rock climbing venues and more eclectic restaurants.


Location is the past, present, and future of advertising

Final reflections on the future of advertising

If you’ve read our entire series on the future of advertising, one thing should be clear –– the advertising industry is in the midst of a revolution. No, it’s not dying. But, it’s changing at a fast-pace, and location-targeted mobile marketing is one of many strategies that is spearheading this revolution.

To learn more, sign up for a free Spatially Ads account and see what location means for your business.

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