Today, the use of mobile devices is at its highest number, increasing on all platforms and continuously being the main point of contact for consumers of digital media. Of course, advertisers and marketers are well aware of these digital marketing trends, and the reliance consumers have on their mobile devices.
eMarketer predicts that the number of smartphone users will increase by 8.7% in 2016, 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 to 2 hours and 40 minutes per day. That’s closely equivalent to the time it takes to watch the movie Titanic, or one of the recent Harry Potter movies. It may not seem like we are on our devices that much, checking a quick text or notification, but day by day it begins to add up.
• 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 huge opportunity to target their audience with a cross-device targeting strategy, and just how valuable the knowledge of location and mobile can come into play.
Specifically, two forms of 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 antennae—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 greatly 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.
This mobile targeting technology is the future of local mobile advertising, and reaching consumers on a more direct and personal level. It’s crucial for advertisers and marketers to keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing world of media, and they have to be able to reach consumers whenever and whenever they can. If you're not able to reach your target audience through mobile activity or quality service, you will lose business to competitors who are. With geo-fencing 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 mobile advertisers will want to access both geo-fencing and beacon technology in order to stay as far ahead of competitors as possible.
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