Location-based ad targeting is on the rise, but the technology that companies are relying on to amplify their messaging varies depending on the country, according to the results of a new global location trends report by the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA).
Use of location technology for marketing is on the rise, up 5% in the U.S., 6% in Canada, 7% in the U.K., and 3% in Singapore between 2016 and 2017. In polling more than 500 business leaders and marketing executives from around the globe, the LBMA found that the most heavily deployed location-based marketing technology varies significantly from country to country. For example, GPS is the top technology currently deployed in the U.K., while WiFi is the top-deployed technology in the U.S.
“The biggest takeaway is the view that location-based marketing is not just about mobile,” said Asif Khan, founder and president of the LBMA. “The data clearly shows that marketers believe that all media can be location-based.”
While WiFi and GPS are the most heavily deployed technologies globally, there’s a renewed interest in near field communication (NFC), and Khan expects to see significant growth in the coming year.
“The media tends to focus on the Bluetooth beacon deployments, while it is clear that WiFi and NFC are actually growing faster,” Khan says. “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a decline in beacon deployments next year.”
Social location services and location-based advertising are top areas of interest among business leaders surveyed, regardless of country, with more than 50% of companies currently using location-based data to target customers. The LBMA’s survey also found that firms expect to see location-based technology increasingly used in customer service initiatives throughout 2017.
Khan notes that there is especially huge growth around digital out-of-home and out-of-home advertising (DOOH and OOH), as well as online (IP location) data. Thirty-seven percent of marketers in the U.S. consider merging mobile and DOOH a top area of interest in 2017, which is a 21% jump from 2016.
Another surprise is the adoption of smart lighting as a location tracking solution, which Khan says generating more interest at this point than he expected. According to the LBMA survey, 8% of companies in Singapore and 6% of companies in Germany plan to implement smart lighting technology this year. Brands like Philips Lighting have already started capitalizing on this emerging area of interest, introducing connected LED lights with IP addresses, meant to triangulate precise locations, to retailers at the National Retailer Federation Big Show in New York in January.
Globally, the LBMA found that the ability to target consumers and drive POS sales are thought of as top benefits of location-based marketing, with a quarter of marketing budgets now being allocated to various location-based marketing tactics.
Although the LBMA survey focuses primarily on how companies are using location-based technologies for marketing purposes, it also found that location is increasingly being used for customer service and other non-marketing initiatives, like tracking assets and store layout planning. Forty-five percent of companies in the U.S. say they’re currently using location-based technology for non-marketing initiatives, compared to just 39% in 2016.
The LBMA’s full report was made available today at RetailLoco, an event held during SXSW in Austin.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.