Curious about the future? 2020 will be more dynamic for the location industry than the past year.
This week on the Location-Based Marketing Association podcast, we are talking about our expectations and predictions for location-based marketing.
2019 was a hectic year for many in the social and technology spaces, and we expect that theme to carry into 2020: the “new normal” will become just “normal.” We are optimistic about this new year but also foresee some systemic changes as to how mobile technology will continue transforming our lives while allowing us more control.
After 25 years of framing technologies by level of maturity and adoption, the Gartner Hype Cycle has finally placed location intelligence for marketing where it belongs — in the trough of disillusionment. Sounds like a lousy place to be, but it’s actually the opposite. Why? The trough of disillusionment is the stage right before the slope of enlightenment. Let me back up and explain.
Urban, suburban, and rural residents have different shopping habits in their “local” areas. Many marketers are investing in mobile location-based ads — BIA/Kelsey predicts US spending will top $26 billion this year — yet as a retailer your goal isn’t just to reach consumers but to connect with them by acknowledging their different perspectives.
Talking to your customers requires a customized strategy that prioritizes location and takes their everyday lives into consideration. Harnessing the power of local starts with knowledge: where your customers live, what they want, and how to deliver it on behalf of your brand.
Many low-accuracy solutions produce horizontal location data only – location in multi-story buildings is not even a possibility. The result is that advertisers are designing campaigns with the equivalent of one hand tied behind their back, generating two-dimensional campaigns for a three-dimensional world.
What advertisers really need is the ability to reach consumers wherever they are, including the floor level in a multi-story mall, and entice them to enter the store. To achieve this, high-accuracy 3D location is needed. Fortunately, new capabilities are in place to help retailers design more effective campaigns, which will drive better results and raise consumers’ expectations to new heights (pun intended!).
Once a venue’s maps have been digitized for wayfinding purposes, there are many ways to drive additional ROI from that same set of indoor maps. When location technologies are designed with interoperability in mind, it becomes possible to blend different technologies together to create smart solutions that provide value not only to business operations but also to consumers. By integrating digitized, layer-based indoor maps with other solutions such as the indoor equivalent of GPS, known as Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), asset tracking and business intelligence, great things become possible.
Here is a shortlist of the top use cases that malls can implement to generate further ROI from their indoor mapping investments.
Just over half of Americans now use their personal mobile phone numbers as their only phone numbers. A majority of Americans also no longer have landline phones in their homes, and that’s convenient because anyone, anywhere in the world, can now reach you with just that one number. But the opposite is true in the business world, where brands can leverage new technologies to create multiple vanity numbers in order to engage their customers across local, regional, and national marketing campaigns.
That statistic I cited above isn’t just an interesting bit of trivia. It highlights how the phone, an ancient communications medium compared to social media platforms, chatbots, messaging apps, and email, remains important to a brand’s marketing efforts.
For years, marketers have used Google Trends to uncover insights based on search data. Now, executives at the advertising and marketing automation platform Gimbal are hoping their newest product will serve the same purpose for the physical world.
Built on top of an independent location data set, Gimbal Trends has been designed to provide marketers with a comprehensive view of consumer behavior in the real world. The product was released this morning, and already Gimbal is seeing interest from companies in the entertainment industry that are interested in leveraging the data to optimize their decision-making processes about upcoming events.
On this week’s Location-Based Marketing Association podcast: PatientPoint’s proximity in healthcare, Boen Wines using NFC with Guala Closures, Bumble gets into physical space, Puma geotargets on Firefly’s DOOH, Google launches “seasonality” and “location groups”, Groupon acquires Presence AI for voice & text.
Google’s calculated risk in creating a low bar for verification works out fine in a world where most business owners simply want to gain legitimate access to their own listings, and most businesses do operate within those ethical boundaries. But as we’ve seen elsewhere at this stage in the evolution of social networks, fraud and deceptive manipulation have become a kind of ghost in the machine, dominating darker sectors of the local marketplace and creating an atmosphere of distrust that may eventually prove more broadly contagious.
All of this is only possible when lots of activity is consolidated on a few platforms. Just as fake accounts attempting to engineer the 2016 election thrived in the vast and complex Facebook ecosystem, so too has Google’s dominance in local attracted its own horde of opportunists, drawn like moths to its flame. Indeed, fraud in local listings is just the latest in a long history of attempts, from link farms to keyword spam, to manipulate loopholes in Google’s regulations and algorithms.
Good news for the whole location-based marketing industry—a new report from location data firm Factual based on a survey of location data buyers finds the field is getting more effective and better at measuring its results. Nearly 9 in 10 marketers said location data is driving more effective campaigns. Eighty-six percent said it’s growing their customer base, and 84% reported higher customer engagement.
However, while use of location-based marketing is set to grow to 94%, only 24% use it or are planning to use it to establish offline attribution.
Factual, one of many companies in the location intelligence space, emphasizes offline foot traffic and “visitation insights.” Tracking the elusive online-to-offline buying journey is the name of the game, and Factual touts the advantage of a 300-million device observation graph. Factual VP Ocean Fine breaks down her company’s approach to location on our latest podcast.
Online metrics, like click-through rates and return-on-ad-spend, can quickly show ecommerce retailers how well their digital advertising campaigns are working. But what happens in the real world? The KPIs used in ecommerce mean almost nothing to brick-and-mortar merchants. In fact, digital approximations can actually cause merchants with physical locations to overspend on certain audience segments, while undervaluing others.
That’s something Zenreach is trying to change.
The location market has matured beyond push. The value of micro-location technology is now built on hyper-accurate analytics on where users go in the physical world, allowing advertisers to re-target them with a variety of omnichannel marketing efforts. Here are a few exciting use cases that highlight the power of hyper-accurate location-based marketing technology.
Let’s face it—we are a long way from being able to show that digital campaigns, and most other advertising formats, resulted in specific in-store sales. There are simply too many unconnected data silos to stitch together meaningful and statistically relevant results. The ad seen on TV can’t inform your phone or laptop that it’s also seen the ad, while the point-of-sale system or online checkout can’t notify those previous touch points to confirm the sale occurred. So if the scale of accurate location data prevents it from being a true stand-alone solution for proving attribution, what role will it play?
While SMB digital marketing spend has seen a steady rise, SMBs are being more conservative about the agencies and vendors with which they partner. In the transparency era, consolidating spend with a select group of trusted agency partners that offer multiple core services is now the norm.
For agencies that cater to SMB brands, these trends have created opportunities and challenges. There is money to be had, but only organizations that differentiate themselves from the competition and can deliver clear ROI will benefit. So how can SMB agencies show their value to brands and ensure revenue growth? There are three opportunity areas, in particular, that can help.
It only takes listing correct and comprehensive information on Google, Yelp, and Bing for a brand or small business to earn 90% on location management solution Uberall’s voice search readiness test. Yet only 4% of the businesses in the company’s latest study, which examined the voice preparedness of 75,000 listings, had correct info on all three of those major directories.
In 2019, we are just scratching the surface of location data’s potential for improving the ROI of advertising and marketing. As we approach the next decade, location intelligence will be a major factor in determining which brands thrive and exist in the many years to come and which ones fall by the wayside by not taking their data seriously enough.
Location data is serving as the conduit to connect consumer-facing marketing initiatives with behind-the-scenes merchandising and logistics. According to a survey by Blis, WBR Insights, and Future Stores, the majority of retail marketers (71%) have some type of location strategy in place, with the primary goal being to drive foot traffic and trigger location-based mobile advertising. That’s not a particular surprise, given how popular the latest location-based marketing tactics have become. More surprising, however, is how common it has become for retailers to use location data for local product and inventory search (60%) and localized online customer service (51%).