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Multi-dimensional advertising through location-based mobile services

|May 13|magazine19 min read

Read other articles from the May issue of Business Review Australia

Marketing departments have been trying for years to produce a viable location-based advertising (LBA) plan for their companies. But mainstream digital advertising is not pulling its weight, nor living up to its actual capabilities. Australians are willing to receive location-based offers – two thirds of the population owning smartphones as of 2011 – but so few companies utilize the technology and strategy.

So what will it take for LBA to truly take off? Some companies are beginning to get the hang of it, and other companies who specifically offer location-based services have begun sprouting up throughout Australia. A true understanding of consumers’ concerns and the capabilities of LBA is needed in order to implement a successful marketing plan utilising location-based services.

Location-based advertising concerns

Most people have problems with a company or service knowing exactly where they are. Security is the foremost issue raised by consumers when asked to consider allowing LBA to reach them. The biggest challenge companies face is warming consumers to the idea of advertising knowing where they are.

Mobiles are extremely personal tools, so privacy is also a huge concern. Establishing a well-thought-out consumer privacy and preference management policy is necessary for any location-based service’s success. If users understand how their information will be used, stored and secured, they will undoubtedly be more willing to sign up for those mobile offers and opportunities. Your program should be strictly voluntary, letting consumers opt in or out of your location-based services.

However, letting consumers opt in or out of LBA poses potential problems to the success of the marketing initiative; if too many people opt out, the effectiveness of the campaign greatly decreases.

 Foursquare, a free app that helps people find services and stores nearby and lets them ‘check in’ to the location, is one of the most successful implementations of mobile location-based services. Even so, they have only just reached a large enough user base (over 45 million worldwide) to spark the interest of major brand advertisers. Be sure to research your intended audience before moving forward with as LBA plan.

The goal on which your marketing team should focus is creating a service consumers want to use by logging in. Doing this will allow you to collect specific location details, which will help refine the geo-targeting process.

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One-dimensional advertising

The first thought many people have with LBA includes consumers being offered a coupon on their mobile when they pass the store front of the company. This is similar to having an employee stand in front of the business, offering the same service – there’s no engagement with the customer in this plan, and mobile advertising can offer so much more to consumers.

The goal of every marketing professional should be to make their campaigns as personal enough to hold the consumer’s attention and convince them they need your product or service. A coupon may not cut it.

Location based advertising gives marketers and their companies so much room to personalise their plan to the consumer, and to set their company aside from the rest. When designing your LBA campaign, ensure it has more attributes than just location. Consider making your LBA dynamic, expandable, or able to integrate with social media; better yet, offer all of these options.

Offering location-based marketing, a user profile and updated content to your consumer will create an increased interest in your campaign or app, and allow you to connect with more people.

Locatrix – Help to make your marketing mobile

Locatrix, a mobile location-based services company in Brisbane, provides s application development, managed services and mobile research and development to their clients. They offer several mobile solutions to companies including Uandme, an award-winning mobile location based application. Uandme features SMS notifications, proximity alerts, local search and personal point-of-interest services.

Telstra utilises the app, branded as Whereis Everyone, as a friend and family proximity finder. It only takes three steps to sign up, but requires a couple different pin numbers texted and emailed to you to preserve user security. Users’ accounts are customisable, including the creation of a list of friends and family.

Other solutions Locatrix offers includes mPoll, a mobile customer service option, which is a simple way for users to provide feedback to companies. Surveys regularly deliver a 25 percent response rate within five minutes. Facebook applications and a location based content-management system titled Inspired, the service used by Virgin Mobile to create the app Game of Phones in conjunction with Locatrix, round out Locatrix’s capabilities.

AdNear – Solutions for the largest brands in the world

AdNear’s mission and presence includes leveraging geo location to create intelligent ad targeting capabilities, continuing invocation, and scaling each project to the company. Something that sets this relatively young company (founded in 2008) apart is its reliance on mobile towers and wi-fi signals. They can collect signal footprints and target users across all platforms without relying on GPS capabilities.

 “We use this location data to understand a user’s history – where he is spending most of his time and what he’s doing at different times of the day and different days of the week,” said founder Anil Mathews. “This helps us understand whether he’s a traveller or a student etc. This level of data analysis enables us to provide the most evolved form of targeting to marketers.”

Currently AdNear reaches over 245 million unique users across India, Southeast Asia and Australia. They work with some of the largest brands in the world, including Intel, Red Bull, Samsung, Microsoft Toyota, Sony, Ford and Google, and can count sizable investments from Canaan Partners and Sequoia Capital.

Pizza Hut in Indonesia, one of the companies using the technology, wanted to drive footfalls by offering different promotions on all weekdays at 50 percent. Pizza Hut reached their goal with a 1.51 percent click through rate.

Bose contacted AdNear with help in marketing revolutionary in-ear noise cancelling headphones. AdNear built a customised mobile audience, which specifically targeted the affluent and travellers. If the user qualified from the targeting parameters, he or she would be shown Bose ad, including an in-app banner that would send the user to a dynamically generated landing page with the address of nearest Bose store. AdNear’s program was able to deliver over 5,000 clicks a day.

Location brings huge value to marketers via mobile devices. Being able to reach consumers on their personal devices – close to their buying decisions – provides huge opportunities for companies to impact the sale. The potential seems nearly endless, with news updates, subscription deals, relevant offers and a plethora of other options available to promote your business or product and encourage consumers to enter the storefront.

Whether you create a LBA system in-house or use an outside source, make sure you have a strong user policy in place to provide security and peace of mind to your consumers. Location-based advertising can be an invaluable tool for your company, just make sure to wield it properly.