The Location Revolution

Location is rapidly becoming one of the most important data points in mobile marketing campaigns. In addition to the basic demographics of age, gender, and social characteristics, marketers are now focussing their attention on interacting locally with a progressively mobile generation of users.

Location based advertising is fast establishing itself as the basis for effective marketing campaigns. In today’s always-connected, 24 hour digital lives, consumers are constantly bombarded with a never-ending stream of adverts. Consumers have become adept at tuning these out, filtering and ignoring the majority of ads, simply because they are not relevant. But the dream of providing ads which consumers engage with and find useful is starting to materialize through location-enabled campaigns.

The evolution of mobile technologies and the growth of new platforms, combined with our need to interact and consume information locally, whilst on-the-go, makes it clear that the proliferation of mobile location-based advertising is just around the corner.

Mobile handsets have become adept at serving a multitude of uses, and unlike many other personal electronic devices, they are rarely switched off, and never stray more than a few feet from their owners. In deploying mobile-centric, location-aware ad campaigns, advertisers are tapping into the one device that matters. Mobile phones are simply better positioned for storing coupons and vouchers, as well as providing time sensitive, location-based offers.   

Crucial transition
Transporting a rich advertising experience into the increasingly-connected mobile experience that today’s consumers seek and enjoy represents a crucial transition for both advertisers and marketers. A recent location-targeted advertising campaign run by mobile operator O2, which aimed to draw visitors to its venues, saw impressive user-interaction figures. Designed to locate users and flag the nearest O2 venue in order to win competition prizes, the campaign also encouraged them to register to O2’s mobile marketing database. The campaign saw an impressive 40 per cent registration rate, with 16 per cent requesting directions to the advertised venue. Location enables targeted adverts at the highest level.

Mobile devices today mirror our lives, and play a crucial role in our daily journeys. Ad campaigns that incorporate location-based information can provide advertisers with a better ROI through razor-sharp targeting. Campaigns can be highly targeted to specific mobile users, when they are in specific locations. For example, providing users with Burger King ads and coupons for venues in their vicinity, as they search for food/dining-related information or navigate in the area of a Burger King branch using Telmap’s solutions. Location-based information integrated into an ad campaign can also mean intelligent campaign management, as campaigns can be flexible and adapt to changes on-the-fly. Campaigns can also be tiered and offer different experiences to different users.

A location-based advertising pilot that Telmap has run with an operator, serving ads to Telmap’s mobile location companion users, has shown some encouraging results:

  • 25 per cent of participants visited new/unfamiliar businesses during the pilot, following an ad.
  • The closer the advertised venue to the user’s real time location and route, the higher the conversion was. People are much more responsive to offers that are in high proximity to their original route.
  • The conversion rate when the location of the advertised venue was 100m from the user was 34.7 per cent. As the distance grew to 800m, the conversion rate dropped to 13.2 per cent, though this is still an extremely high conversion rate.
  • Conversion rates also varied by category of advertised businesses, with parking, flower shops, bars, pharmacies, cinemas, and ice-cream shops leading the conversion rate charts.

Adding to the equation are social media giants Twitter and Facebook, who have recently been active in adding location features to their services, which only serves to highlight the potential of location information. Full integration between location information and social communities can further increase the effectiveness of location-based advertising, weaving in word-of-mouth and viral effects, as well as recommendations from friends, all powered by the context of real-time location.

Facebook Places
The recent VisitBritain campaign, launched by the British Tourist Authority, aims to promote tourism within the UK, and builds upon Facebook Places. The campaign runs a daily Top 50 list of attractions in the UK, using crowdsourced data, based on check-ins on Facebook Places. Not only is this organic, and entirely user-generated, it also encourages attractions to make an effort to improve their ranking. It illustrates that location can be used in a variety of original ways, provide engaging content and intuitive campaigns.

Since it uses social media, the campaign has also been extremely cost-effective, as the users are the ones providing the data. The logical next step is to include location-aware mobile coupons and vouchers that build upon the user-generated list. The campaign is also an example of how location-based services can be used as a launch pad to build online and mobile communities.

As mobile services become better connected and deeply embedded into our lives, Telmap predicts that location-based advertising is going to boom, and be perceived as useful, helpful information, rather than just another ad.


Motti Kushnir is chief marketing officer at location-based services firm, Telmap