Mobile News for Media and Publishing Executives
It is of no great surprise that the team at Spreed believes that location is an extremely large part of the mobile mix. Location targeting can be used for displaying more relevant content to users, but it can also be extremely effective as a form of targeting for advertisers.
Spreed has been on the forefront of location based advertising since the inception of the iPhone and it’s ubiquitous GPS technology. Not only have we developed a content platform that can detect someone’s location and actually re-skin the application based on where that users is (i.e. Metro News in English speaking Canada versus French spreaking Canada), but we have also included to-the-meter targeting of advertising in our CleverAds Ad platform.
We have seen a number of our publishers sell smart location based campaigns to their advertisers partners. Some of the most notorious examples being the targeting of large sports stadiums during professional games with deals for bars and restaurants right outside of the stadium. However, in most part we haven’t seen a large number of these campaigns run.
Mobile Marketer published a good article last week entitled, Have Marketers Forgotten About Geotargeted Mobile Advertising. We do not believe they have forgotten about it, we believe they haven’t even really tried it out yet. We are hoping that 2012 will bring a change in the trial and testing of location based campaigns.
The article by Mobile Marketer references Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston, who says that location based campaigns haven’t been sold yet because, “ there is far more mobile ad inventory than ad campaigns booked. Mobile ad networks likely want to broaden the net they cast, rather than narrow it, to maximize impressions rendered.”
Essentially he is implying that mobile ad networks are just trying to fill as much inventory as possible, as we are still in the infancy of mobile advertising, without thinking about the conversions. This is a problem as generalized, untargeted campaigns are not going to translate into high CTR’s and in the infancy of mobile we need to prove campaign can really provide significant benefits over other mediums in order make mobile a permanent and potential dominant part of the advertising mix.
The above reason could be the issue for the lack of location based campaigns. But we would also like to throw in the possibility that the technology in not generally available in order to sell premium location based campaigns. The achilles heal of location based marketing has always been it’s inability to accurately predict a number of available impressions within a specific location.
Most ad platforms give publishers or advertisers the ability to target campaigns to the city or meter level. But very few can actually tell a sales representative how many available impressions they have to sell within any given location. Without understanding what you are selling it is hard to have confidence in your product and even harder for a potential advertising partner to understand what they are buying.
Spreed is proud to be one of the few, if not the only ad platform with the ability to report on trending available inventory within any given location. Because our ad platform is directly integrated into our analytics platform and the application or mobile site, we have significantly more information about a user and can actually use that information when targeting them with advertising. Location is just one example of information that we collect and can then utilize from an advertising perspective.
If location based advertising is going to become popular (and it should be as the conversions could be massive) more technology providers are going to have to provide detailed reporting on available inventory within a location. In the mean time our platform is ready to provide publishers and advertisers with that information.
If you have any questions about location based mobile advertising or location based reporting, to not hesitate to reach out to us via email/phone or leave a comment on this post. In the mean time we highly recommend reading the Mobile Marketer article linked to below.
Geotargeted mobile advertising is a hot commodity and a great way for marketers to not only drive in-store traffic, but make ads relevant to consumers. Although companies such as Best Buy and Ace Hardware are using location to their advantage, others are not.
It will be no surprise to our readers that at Spreed we believe strongly in the promise of Location Based Advertising (LBA). We have talked about LBA in many of our previous posts and have built powerful LBA features into our CleverAds mobile advertising platform.
For those unfamiliar with Location Based Advertising it is any form of advertising that targets users in a specific location and provides them with geographically-relevant ads. LBA has been around for quite some time now on the web, but typically targeting users only on the city or neighborhood level. However, with the rise of smart phones and smart phone applications, LBA becomes a lot more interesting. Almost all of the new smart phones possess GPS capabilities. This means that advertisers can now target people down to peoples exact location as they move around their respective cities.
We believe that LBA is going to be huge for the retail industry and we are already starting to see the returns as outlined in some of our previous posts. Although LBA has been around for some time, the companies really pushing this space forward are the Location Based Services (LBS), such as FourSquare and Gowalla. These services let you ‘check-in’ to specific locations and see who else is there and where your friends are. They are also useful for pushing location based deals and incentive programs. Gowalla, launched in 2007 and Foursquare launched in 2009 (according to Wikipedia). In the race to be the dominant service Foursquare is clearly winning – Techcrunch recently reported that they are 5x larger and are growing 75% faster than Gowalla every day.
Location Based Services are exciting and have been gathering momentum over the past two years. However we wanted to take this opportunity to point out the pros, cons and where we think they are moving in the next 6-12 months in regards to their potential for Location Based Advertising.
- These services are great at building brand loyalty. For example, if you are the person who ‘checks-in’ the most on FourSquare at a location, you become the mayor. Some stores offer free incentives to their current mayor. Also, there is a large opportunity to provide discounts to customers who ‘check-in’ a certain number of times. Think of this as an automated loyalty card program (i.e. Subway card).
- They pull nearby users in. For example, Foursquare is beginning to push deals via a banner on the application for specific stores or venues if you ‘check-in’ around their location.
- They let you know who is physically around you. I have been to many concerts and found out after the fact that friends were there. By using one of these LBS’s you can easily ‘check-in’ and find out who else is there (in real time).
- They are great for Word-of-Mouth marketing. Users can add tips to locations. If you login to a location close by to a location where a friend has left a ‘tip’, you receive the WOM advise via a push notification.
- People value privacy. I have been hearing from a growing number of people that they do not want everyone knowing where they are all the time. I think we are going to see this trend increase as time goes on. People are already worried about their privacy, but Location Based Services just up the ante on open information.
- People are beginning to experience serious ‘check-in fatigue’. Every time you go to a location, you have to manually check-in. If you are only using Foursquare, it still gets tiresome; However, if you are using multiple LBS applications, it becomes out-right annoying.
- There is very little utility for advertisers. Other than the location based deals that pop up every once in a while on Foursquare, there is very little value added to brands by these tools. People can provide you tips when you check in to a location, but there is no call to action, no directions to get to this location and definitely no ‘download a coupon’ option for this location tool.
If LBS apps are going to survive and become successful business ventures, they will need to address these cons. There is an interesting article in today’s Mobile Marketing Watch about a new LBS app called GroupTabs. GroupTabs is set to launch in a few weeks and is a cross between FourSquare and Groupon. If you do not know about Groupon yet, they push local deals to subscribers daily. Grouptabs plans to push people deals from around their current location as they ‘check-in’. These deals will add a lot of value to the LBS chain and definitely provide utility for both the advertiser and the end user — which solves one of the major problems of the current tools.
The second article that inspired this post is based on ‘check-in fatigue’ and can be found here. In this article Saad Fazil of VenturBeat states that, “Auto checkins can become useful if, for example, I specify Starbucks as one of my favorite spots and am automatically checked in whenever I am there — thus making it easier for the company to offer discounts based on number of checkins.” I wasn’t too sure about auto check-in’s at first as people are already leaving these services because they do not want people to know where they are all the time. However, if you can specify what your favorite stores/locations are and have the tool automatically check you in when you enter the location, those problems cease to become a deterrent.
Now imagine if we mashed up the above two concepts and created an LBS application that allowed you to chose your favorite stores. Whenever you entered the store, you would be pushed a relevant coupon or promotional deal either for the store or for a relevant purchase. This would get rid of the ‘check-in’ fatigue, would in most cases solve users issues around privacy as these are not private location and would supply a great deal of value to the end user. This is the future of Location Based Services and where we would like to see this space going in the future in order to drive the Location Based Advertising Industry.
Only time will tell, but we think GroupTabs is on to a great idea and we whole heartedly support their efforts. If they can adopt the automated check-in system, we think they have winner. At Spreed we are looking to push location based deals when people open up their newspaper app around one of the papers retail advertiser locations. The pop up would include directions to the location and a coupon for use on their next purchase. As end-users, newspaper publishers and advertisers, what do you think of this opportunity and Location Based Services in general? Let us know!
At Spreed we are strong believers in mobile advertising and we know that the early days of this market are going to be filled with trials and tests. The market is still very young and filled with banner advertising and non-actionable landing pages. The next step is to leverage the unique opportunities made available by mobile devices. These opportunities include actionable banner ads that allow users to download coupons directly into their phone (similar to your physical wallet), call companies directly from their ad or even get directions to a stores location using the phones internal GPS.
Actionable advertising that creates value and provides high levels of emotion are important, but it also needs to be paired with best of breed targeting. The most unique form of targeting on mobile phones is their ability to pinpoint a users exact location no matter where they are. Location based advertising will be a huge success when paired with actionable advertising. Imagine seeing a banner or receiving a popup offering you directions to or coupon for a store that you are extremely close to.
Web based advertising was able to pinpoint you to your city, but this new breed of location based advertising will allow stores to draw a geometric shape around their location and push and advertisement to users that come anywhere within their desired parameters. Given that mobile phone users are constantly moving around their respective cities, this opens up lots of potential for local and more importantly retail advertisers (the bread and butter of newspaper advertising).
In Finland, a recent trial in conjunction with McDonalds and Nokia’s Ovi Maps tool advertised discounts on cheeseburgers when they were close to a McDonalds restaurant. This campaign saw a whopping 7% CTR. Once users clicked into the ad they were presented with the option to download a coupon or get directions to the restaurant. Amongst the users that clicked on the advertisement 39% went on to request even more information and interact with the ad.
These are clearly much higher than the CTRs for standard digital ads on the web. “Location is the new demographic. It’s no longer just about age, gender, and socio-economics, but about reaching mobile users who are in a geographic position to buy,” said Chris Rothey, vice president, NAVTEQ Media Solutions who helped put together this trial. “These findings show the power of LPA in helping advertisers find location-relevant consumers and guide those consumers into stores.”
Spreed believes in both smart mobile targeting and fun and ‘emotion rich’ actionable advertising. Our CleverAds platform is now able to target based on exact locations. Advertisers can draw a line down a street, a circle around a store with a given radius, or any other geometric shape. Contact us or any of our publishing partners if you would like to run a location based trial with your brand.
We recently reported that Apple acquired Quattro, a mobile advertising network. Shortly after the sale of Quattro Apple released a statement saying that apps that requested a users location for the primary purpose of location based advertising would be rejected by the app store.
At first sight this appears to be anti-competitive behavior. Apple recently filed for a patent around location based advertising and their purchase of Quattro makes it obvious that they plan on pursuing this highly engaging targeting method. Over the past week every has been yelling that Apple is the new Microsoft and that their actions are anti-competitive in nature. I do not think we should be so quick to judge.
By the sounds of it, Apple is not going to ban applications that use location information for advertising as long as they provide some other added value, location based service. Only time will tell, but it seems far fetched to think that they would allow apps that use Quattro’s platform to perform location based advertising without a valuable reason to grab the location and not others. What they are trying to do is ensure that people do not get slammed with location requests for no other reason than to be bombarded with advertising.
If this is what Apple is doing, I am behind them 100%. Location based advertising has always been considered the holy grail of the mobile platform, but there is a fine balance between adding value and being annoying. Apple is trying to ensure that their user experience is not compromised by annoyances to the user that don’t actually give them anything useful in return.
For media publishers adding valuable location based content should not be a problem. For example, in order to gain the users location all the publisher needs to do is provide local news, local weather, or local reviews. If you add this type of functionality then you have every reason to grab the users location as you are giving them something in return for their coordinates and can therefore also use that location data for ad targeting.
If this is the case then good on Apple for trying to maintain a high level of user satisfaction. Here at Spreed we will be keeping our eyes on this issue as we currently allow publishers to target users with local advertising, but only do so if we have a good reason to request their location. Only time will tell.
Here is the official statement from Apple:
If you build your application with features based on a user’s location, make sure these features provide beneficial information. If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.