Local marketing has been touted as one of the most significant growth areas for digital marketing for the past few years. During that time, most ad servers and media strategies have only attempted targeting a consumer based on physical location, usually through latitude and longitude coordinates.
Currently the accuracy of this system varies mainly by the device you are using. If you are using a laptop at home, the ad server may sniff the IP to figure out your location. It is easy to figure out what country, state and county you are in but getting down to the street level or house level, accuracy drops quite a bit. Therefore most companies have attempted to verify the IP data against other signals like WiFi.
Overall, we made some strong advancements but at the same time most media folks became trained to think of location as a single dimension. Location, especially within mobile marketing, has several dimensions that can affect the outcome of your campaign. Here are a few elements one should consider when building a local mobile ad campaign:
- Will the weather affect my campaign? If so, can I target by weather? Temperatures above 100 or below freezing will drastically change the performance of your campaign.
- What day of the week is it? If I build an auto campaign in NJ and it shows on Sundays, this may have a much lower response rate since most dealerships are closed on Sundays in NJ. This may also come into play when targeting areas with high concentrations of religious folks who may attend church on Sundays.
- Is this an offer for one person or a group? If people are with a group of friends or family, they will react differently to offers that do not include the people immediately around them.
- Travel time – in most cases asking a person to one to five miles to redeem an offer is not out of the question. However, if you are in LA during rush hour, going one mile may take an hour. A way to combat this is to either target at specific times of day or make the radius of your campaign smaller.
- Time of month – If you are targeting people during the whole month, you may see better results during pay cycles. Creating creative or day parting strategies around pay cycles may drastically improve performance.
- Transitional times – If you launch your ads at 10 am Eastern, most likely a good portion of your audience will be at work and will not be able to redeem your offer until noon / lunch time. Focusing on times when people can get away from work is important or reminding them again closer to their breaks is also important. This may relate to the type of inventory you buy, day parting or time zones. EG – You may want to purchase weather inventory in the morning before work and game inventory at lunch time.
- Don’t include useless info – If a person has lived in an area for more than a year, they most likely know their town pretty well. Including a map and directions of how to get to X place is interesting and cool but most people already know how to get there. Focus on the key message and give them a reason to act on the offer as quickly as possible.
- Loyalty programs are crucial – The ability to know what a person likes, how often they act on it and where they act on it is a crucial boost for local marketing. Otherwise, people are going to get bombarded with messages and the overall effectiveness of them will decrease dramatically.
At the moment, going broad in mobile is still recommended but looking a few months down the road when rates go up, it will be important to know what levers you have available for optimization. Personally, I am a strong believer that weather will be one of the most powerful drivers in local marketing in the coming year. Check out Weather.com’s new platform which verifies this thesis.