5 Ways Brands Can Leverage Place-Based Mobile Targeting

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xad graphicThe ability to target consumers based on location is no longer an emerging element of mobile technology — it is the standard on which all other strategies are based. An Adobe study released in April of this year revealed that three in four digital marketers find mobile location-based marketing to be effective. The growing demand for this type of mobile advertising has brought on the development of new and effective location targeting strategies, the most popular being place-based mobile ad targeting which is leveraged in one form or another by nearly 70% of campaigns running on the xAd network.This form of location-focused targeting focuses on the audience and activities related to specific locales, whether brick and mortar retail, stadiums, or the Sears Tower. National brands from Pinkberry to Carl’s Jr. are on board and experiencing tremendous success — averaging 55% lift over industry average performance. Want in? Here are five place-based mobile targeting strategies to try.

Geo-Fence Your Business Location
One of the most basic forms of mobile location-targeting, geo-fencing, remains an incredibly important and fundamental approach, accounting for 40% of the campaigns run on the xAd network in Q1 2013. Sometimes the simplest way is the most effective, and brands and businesses understand the power of focusing on audiences available within the immediate vicinity of their business’s address. Geo-fencing your business location is the perfect marriage of targeted location at scale, as it allows you to cast a wide, yet relevantly targeted net — gaining target market awareness amongst both new and current customers.

Geo-Fence the Competition
The same science used in geo-fencing an advertiser’s actual business location applies here. Every business knows whom their competitors are, and is on alert for those lurking on the horizon. By geo-conquesting the brick-and-mortar locations of your competitors, you can affect the future purchase decisions of those consumers. This form of place-based targeting is so popular, that among the brands and businesses running geo-fencing campaigns on the xAd network, many include a component of geo-conquesting. That means if you are not already leveraging place-based mobile targeting within the vicinity of your business… your competitors surely are.

Event Targeting
The bigger the venue, the grander the audience. Event-focused targeting has become an important opportunity for marketers looking to make a concentrated splash in a short period of time. Mobile devices have become secondary screens at many events and are often considered a complement to the physical experience.  At a recent Muse concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, I was amazed to witness a sea of smartphone screens in use throughout the show — fueling social sharing, and documenting the experience from the perspective of each screaming fan. It was almost impossible to find someone not using their phone during the event. The same can be experienced during sporting events, charity walks, and street festivals. All of these events are short-lived but packed full of people carrying and using their smartphones, making event targeting an interesting addition to your mobile-location strategy.

POI Targeting
Point of Interest (POI) targeting is similar to event targeting in that it usually envelops a massive audience. The difference is that points of mass interest don’t typically pack up and disappear. For example, the Empire State Building or the San Francisco Bay Bridge are not going anywhere. They are frequented by tourists and townies alike – equaling an often gigantic, yet highly targeted — audience.

With specific place-based targeting, brands looking for new and creative strategies are seeing the benefit. For example, campaigns for multiple Broadway shows included a multi-layer approach incorporating POI targeting of one of New York’s most popular locales, Times Square. The clients reported performance was on-point with projected benchmarks and even saw direct revenue from the campaign. So when looking for an outside the zip code way of targeting your mobile campaigns, POI targeting is a fun and creative way to get some big bang for the buck.

Brand Affinity Targeting
Similar to event and POI targeting, brand affinity targeting does not require your own brick-and-mortar location. Instead, it relies on the geographical activities of your audience to understand which businesses and brands they frequent most. For example, if you know your audience is largely made up of women aged 25-34, with a household income above $75k, you may identify Nordstrom and WholeFoods as two businesses this audience frequents often when targeting mobile users. Of course, this information can vary by city so it’s important to understand those variations related to the markets you’re looking to target. But not all ad networks have the ability to leverage this type of data so talk to your current agency or ad network about their capabilities in helping you leverage consumer brand affinity data for mobile ad targeting.

Place-based targeting is simply the next evolution of mobile targeting and its success will continue to shape the marketplace in the coming years as brands and marketers become more comfortable with the power and performance of mobile location.

Annisa Farese is marketing and communications manager for xAd Inc., which leverages local search data to drive performance in search and display campaigns for clients that range from local SMBs to global brands. To learn more about xAd, visit www.xAd.com or follow the company on Twitter at @xAdInc.