Location-based advertising needs smart technology and smart thinking

Location-based advertising needs smart technology and smart thinking

The word ‘smartphone’ is now so widely used that it’s easy to forget how much the ‘smart’ element enables. For digital advertisers, the technology’s capacity to learn from users’ location behaviour has significantly raised the bar; mobile advertisers can target consumers based on context and location, a tactic that goes a long way to eliminating campaign wastage.

Many mobile strategies target audiences in real-time when they are in the vicinity of a specific place. That is pretty smart in itself. But its effectiveness can be magnified because the advertiser can use historical location data to pre-qualify the audience as relevant.

Looking at where a device has been over a period of time gives anonymous insight into where the device owner lives, works, spends time, etc; mapping this with personally unidentifiable offline data lets advertisers begin to paint a much clearer picture of who they are reaching.

Location data is readily available, using it well requires considering the following key points:

Look under the bonnet

Mobile advertisers need to ask difficult questions about the source of location data to be as confident as possible that it is not fraudulent. This requires ‘looking under the bonnet’ of the data supplier to ensure they undertake essential processes to provide clean location data.

These may include cross-referencing location data provided by different sources, such as GPS, beacons and phone operators, to ensure it all matches. Or it may involve the analysis of device location patterns to ensure the plausibility of a certain device being in the given locations, across a certain timeframe.

Ultimately there is no silver bullet; clean data and non-fraudulent advertising is a work in progress, and one in which everyone has a role to play.

Match creative with location

Having gathered the location data and honed the targeting, the visual element is the final piece of the jigsaw – and often the decider as to whether or not people engage.

Today’s advertisers have a real opportunity to deliver highly relevant, engaging creatives to a very specific target audience, not only at the right time and in the right contextual environment but also in the right place.

Creatives that incorporate location are highly effective. Sequential messaging, for example, could be used to advertise a new film release. The audience is first reached with the film trailer creative when they are at home using WiFi and those that engaged can be retargeted when they’re later seen in proximity to a relevant cinema. Dynamic location adverts are also a highly effective way for creative to be more relevant; tactics such as referring to local weather or traffic conditions help advertisers to connect with users in a way that hasn’t previously been possible.

Visibility is not optional

Brand safety has made the headlines for the wrong reasons many times this year. It has flagged that advertisers need to know exactly where their creative is appearing. The use of inventory private market places or white lists and blacklists is now an essential element for advertisers that are using mobile to its full potential. Coupled with the ease of partnering with AdSafe verifiers means that complete brand safety should be achievable.

Advertisers should also expect full transparency around the data being used, as highlighted above.

In addition, to maximise returns they need to ensure vendors are not applying high margins, so full visibility on costs is essential.

Earn consumer trust

With the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) now firmly on the horizon, never has it been more important for advertisers to build strong relationships with the consumer using transparency to build trust.

That requires relevant ads, shown to the right people, when they are receptive to engaging with them. Location-based advertising makes this achievable – as long as we match our smart technology with equally smart thinking.

Dan Read, head of trading and platform sales, TabMo UK.

TabMo UK was a sponsor for The Drum MOMA Awards 2017. The mobile marketing awards will return for 2018 to celebrate the brands and agencies delivering the best campaigns and strategies that are leading the way in mobile.

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