Today, the use of mobile devices is at its highest number, increasing on all platforms and continuously being the main point of contact for media consumers. Of course, advertisers and marketers are well aware of this growing market, and the reliance consumers have on their mobile devices. Enter: hyper-local targeting for mobile.
Mobile Use Today
In 2020, the number of smartphone users in the United States is estimated to reach 276M, and as a result, location-based services are expected to rise at near equal pace. Out of all of the time consumers spend using their screen devices—smartphones, tablets, TVs, Desktops/Laptops, or other connected devices— mobile devices have shown by far the most dramatic increase over the years. From 2010-2015, mobile use increased from 20 minutes a day to 2 hours and 40 minutes. By 2020, it was 5.4 hours every day.
It may not seem like we're on our devices that much, checking a quick text or notification, but day by day, it begins to add up.
Mobile use is more specifically broken down into the following main priorities:
- Taking a picture (82%)
- Texting (80%)
- Accessing the internet (56%)
- Email (50%)
- Recording videos (44%)
- Downloading apps (43%)
- Accessing health information (31%)
- Checking bank accounts (29%)
Advertisers understand that there is a huge opportunity to target their audience on numerous platforms, and just how valuable the knowledge of location and mobile can come into play.
The Hyper-Local Breakdown: Beacons vs. Geo-Fencing in Mobile Technology
Specifically, two forms of mobile technology that advertisers and marketers are using to target consumers based on their location are beacons and geo-fencing. These two hyperlocal mobile targeting tactics help advertisers send out coupons, notifications, and alerts directly to a customer’s cell phone. It’s an effective and personal way to entice consumers to come into the store by letting them know that a store is not only nearby, but that it’s having a special sale or promotion.
Geo-Fencing is a location-based targeting technology that uses GPS to recognize a customer’s proximity to a storefront, and then send virtual ads, promotions, or coupons to their mobile device. It uses a large, fixed radius, inside which the technology is activated by the location settings on consumers’ phones. Many stores, including Gap, American Eagle, Starbucks, and Walmart, are joining this trend.
Beacons are small devices (about the size of a hockey puck), which are placed throughout stores and various establishments, and transmit signals—like a radio antenna—via Bluetooth. The beacon’s signals are detected by smartphone apps, which are used to target individuals in the vicinity of specific products in stores. This form of technology differs significantly from geo-fencing, not only because it requires an app, but because it also has marketing specific variation capabilities. The signal can be personalized to the consumer’s interests and needs, through the store app, to help better serve the consumer information about the most relevant products.
The Hyper-Local Mobile Future
This technology is the future of advertising and reaching consumers on a more direct and personal level. Advertisers and marketers must keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing world of media, and they have to be able to reach consumers whenever and wherever they can. If you're not able to reach your audience through mobile activity or quality service, you will lose business to competitors who are.
With geofencing technology, the consumers are being drawn into the store, and with beacons, they are being drawn to specific products in the store. One technology’s weakness is the other’s strength, and it is because of this that advertisers will want to access both geo-fencing and beacon technology to stay as far ahead of competitors as possible.