A new industry-sponsored study of mobile advertisers and agencies offers guidance for hyperlocal marketing providers. Big brands and their agencies are increasing their mobile marketing efforts, with a keen focus on location data and social media integration.
The Mobile Marketing Association recently released a report sketching out the key findings from a survey it conducted this summer of 400 big brands, retailers and agencies. The study confirms some of the patterns Street Fight is seeing among big national-to-local marketers, and shows that hyperlocal tech and marketing providers’ investments are in line with their needs.
Some highlights from the MMA study include the following:
- The MMA calls out as the most important survey finding the importance of location in mobile marketing. To the survey respondents, it’s not just about reaching an audience on its most-used device, it’s actually about using location data for targeting, audience behavior, etc. Forty-six percent of marketers and 47% of agencies rated location data as critical.
- Almost two-thirds (66%) of marketers used location data within social media. That outpaced search, display advertising, video, and content marketing.
- Mobile spending correlated with experience. The most experienced mobile marketers devoted a larger portion of their budget to mobile than those who deemed it a relatively new, but strategic investment and those who were just testing and learning. That’s unsurprising, but an encouraging indicator that they’re pleased with results.
- Local data quality was the top concern for both marketers and agencies. And the marketers were particularly concerned about a lack of transparency in data sources and methodologies.
When asked to compare value and frequency of usage of various mobile tactics, the MMA survey respondents identified real-time location-based advertising as the top application, along with location-enhanced creative and proximity marketing. Street Fight’s own survey of big brands that marketed locally in support of their franchises and distributors told a similar story. Our respondents identified mobile push offerings (41%) and real-time location data (32%) as the top two new digital technologies they were interested in exploring in the near term. Both surveys were pretty bearish on beacons, in comparison.
One of the most striking findings from Street Fight’s State of Hyperlocal executive survey analysis was the prominence of data and analytics as a vendor investment focus, particularly in comparison with last year. It was the number two investment in marketing/advertising and top focus in commerce. In marketing, geotargeting and mobile advertising were right up there, too. Social media was either the number one or two priority, syncing nicely with the mobile advertisers’ interests, as identified by the MMA.
Local data as attribution solution?
The MMA also asked how the marketers and agencies were using local data. Two-thirds said they used it for ad targeting, and another 61% for “insights.” The panel of big marketers I hosted at the recent Street Fight Summit conveyed a distinct impression that they used local data primarily as a way of identifying and describing different audience and customer segments, rather than for aggressive targeting or custom offers.
A significant portion of the MMA marketers said they had used local data to measure marketing effectiveness (57%) and for attribution (53%). That’s intriguing, and points to potential opportunities for marketing tech and services providers. As shown above, the Street Fight vendor survey identified online to offline attribution as the biggest challenge facing the industry overall. While that rating was driven by agencies and data/analytics companies, over 60% of which tabbed O2O attribution, it was also a challenge for over 40% of technology companies and publishers.
So the good news is that, while measuring marketing attribution properly — and thus better understanding ROI — remains a tough challenge, suppliers are investing in local data and analytics as part of the solution, and buyers have begun to apply them. There doesn’t seem to be a huge disconnect between supply and demand.
Note: The MMA notes that Factual was the primary sponsor of this research initiative, as well as the following co-sponsors: Digital Element, Dstillery, PlaceIQ, Plexure, Skyhook Wireless, Teralytics, Thinknear by Telenav, Ubimo, Verve Mobile and xAd.
David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.
Download the Street Fight report, The State of Hyperlocal 2017, here.