How ‘Moment-based’ Targeting Will Impact Local Advertising

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Three arrows at the center of the target.

Almost everything about digital advertising has changed over the past five years, especially for local advertisers. The type of media we buy, how we buy it, what types of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) we look at and the strategies we put in place to hit those KPIs.

Looking at these changes at a high level, one overarching trend that touches on almost everything is the push to target “moments.” We started to buy mobile because it let advertisers reach someone in specific places and moments not possible with online or TV. We’ve begun to look at KPIs beyond click-through rate, because we care about not just whether an ad was seen, but what mindset that person was in and what impact the ad left on them.

With local advertising, marketers have made this shift, and we are now onto the second phase of moment-based targeting, focusing on the combination of multiple factors in a moment to determine when a consumer will be most receptive. To find these receptive moments, an advertiser can identify and tap into many signals that will provide info about the end recipient’s state of mind, and while targeting moments has traditionally been centered on location, it takes more than that to find these receptive moments.

For example, take an advertiser that wants to reach a business traveler. Traditionally, an audience of “business travelers” would be built probabilistically, looking at things like what sites/apps a person visits, his/her age, device type and location.

When it comes to finding receptive moments, advertisers can go even deeper. Not only can you build-out an audience and add location into the mix, but you can include additional contextual data, such as the weather, event triggered data like airport delays and cancellations and use this information to further identify what may resonate with the end recipient. In this scenario, an advertiser could reach business travelers at the airport, but more specifically, those who may be experiencing a delay – effectively creating a moment on top of traditional advertising.

For local advertisers, this is a massive opportunity, and the shift to receptive moments represents a big change in how local businesses have traditionally set-up campaigns. Location has been the be-all and end-all for local advertisers, and the perception has essentially been “let me target someone close by my business, and I’ll be happy.”

This is just a case of local advertisers selling themselves short though, and by setting up campaigns to include more than just location, a world of possibilities opens up.

Most notably, local advertisers have the ability to take customers on a relevant, personalized journey that uniquely meets their business needs.

Using the local hotel example again, imagine there is a convention happening or a big sporting event, and the hotel knows there will be travelers coming into town from a specific location. The hotel could start a campaign by geo-fencing a financial district in the city people were traveling from, advertising deals on rooms for the next week. It could then set-up its next ad to be served to people at the airport, advertising last minute rates. Finally, lets say there is a weather incident and the hotel knows it will be raining when people arrive. The hotel could then update the campaign to serve an ad that offers people the opportunity to call to book a car service to and from the hotel.

This is a combination of targeting an audience with a variety of receptive moments, and the result is a series of ads that should drive much higher engagement than using one ad that doesn’t account for specific circumstances or “moments.”

While this is all possible today, in the future, this will be the norm. When focusing on moments, advertisers can set up their creative to change dynamically and reflect where consumers are in the journey.

The digital media industry is always evolving, and while many advertisers don’t know exactly what the future holds, we can make an educated guess, and all signs point to receptive moments.

The good news for local advertisers is most of them are already thinking about the customer journey in a way that will lead to success. A good local marketer will have an idea about how consumers hear about them, and what moments must occur to push them through the funnel. In the past, many marketers would look for a ‘one size fits all’ approach to getting consumers through the funnel, but in this new digital landscape, it will be as simple as designing a “moments-based” campaign that evolves along with the consumers’ mindset.

Ken_HarlanKen Harlan is the co-founder and CEO of MobileFuse, a mobile-first advertising company.  Ken has more than ten years of experience in the ad-tech scene and is an authority on all things mobile advertising. Prior to MobileFuse, he co-founded ToneFuse, one of the world’s largest marketing platforms for mobile content subscriptions, which he later sold to CellFish.