Achieving MULO Marketing Success With Contextual Advertising

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Not only can multi-location marketing be effective for businesses that have multiple brick-and-mortar locations, but it can also be an effective way to reach a larger audience and build brand awareness in the radius of store or shop locations. When using multi-location marketing, it is important to consider the different needs of each location, however, the overall goal should be to use contextual advertising that can be seen and heard by potential customers in multiple locations.

According to eMarketer, programmatic advertising has become mobile-dominated, at around 70% of digital display ad spending in 2023. It has also been reported that around 83% of marketers say they can run more successful campaigns when they use location data. However, as soon as they add an additional layer of targeting – for example, gender – accuracy drops dramatically. By adding gender along with one selected age range — the accuracy drops to 24%, on average. Plus, with third-party cookies going away and users having the ability to opt out of targeting on certain devices, location-based targeting could be harder to achieve.

For example, some sites have seen a random spike in traffic in the middle of the U.S. within their Google Analytics. This is likely due to U.S. users who have opted out of targeted marketing, and therefore Google places their session as close to the middle of the U.S. as possible.

So keeping in mind that location-based targeting could get harder in the future, what should marketers do to continue to achieve results?

The best methods of ad targeting for multi-location are:

Expand First-party Data

First-party data will become increasingly important as cookies fall away. By implementing a loyalty program or increased first-part data intake, you can expand your targeting without cookies. You can do this through loyalty programs, email newsletters, customer data ingestion and more. If you can, try to ask for a zip code or city and state within your customer ingestion process.

Segmentation by Location

The best methods of ad targeting for multi-location businesses will vary depending on the business and its goals. However, the best piece of advice is to optimize for locality based on performance.

For example, if your business is a tax and accounting chain in multiple states, you’ll want to ensure you have a tracking setup to understand each locality’s performance and engagement, then you can start to analyze your campaigns based on what resonates most with consumers in that particular area.

Analyze location-based performance

Understand your location-performance. Be sure to take into account:

  • DMA Performance
  • Zip Code Performance
  • Radius of ad to conversion performance
  • Repeat customer vs. new customer network via advertising

Incorporate ad performance learning to expand targeting

It is important to take into account culture, value-based or interest differentiators in different locations if your businesses are located in different regions. For example, consumers in NYC may be more interested in art, pop culture, and dining, whereas the consumers of the same business in Boise, Idaho might be more interested in sports, farmer’s markets and IPA beers.

By conducting research to better understand your target market’s interests and where they consume content, you can expand and test into different targeting aspects.

Use audience-learnings to test into contextual advertising

With targeting learnings, you can start to implement contextual-based advertising. For example, if you run audience-based ads related to the interest of “parenting,” and determine that it performs well, you may want to think about targeting contextual “parenting” keywords and topics to see if the contextual topic performs well for you.

How Contextual Ads can Work within Multi-location marketing

Contextual advertising is a form of targeted marketing that takes into account the context of a user’s search or web activity, in order to deliver more relevant ads. This type of advertising can be used to reach customers in multiple locations, as it takes into account the user’s location, as well as the user’s interests. Contextual advertising can be used to reach customers through traditional media, such as television and radio, or through digital media, such as online ads and social media.

For example, if a barbecue chain saw an increase in foot traffic after serving contextual video ads, it can utilize content-based engagement to optimize their creativity based on which video topics or moments garnered the most engagement, and push that messaging across other marketing channels.

Multi-location marketing should not be thrown aside with cookies. It is not only a necessary component of marketing campaigns, but is likely the difference between successful results and underperforming. The key for marketers moving forward is to put in place the best practices that unlock audience data for high-quality engagements.

Zack Rosenbert is co-founder and CEO of Qortex, an intelligent video analytics company.
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