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Market opens to potential of location-based advertising

January 28, 2011

By Motti Kushnir

Location-based advertising is poised to take the mobile medium by storm this year and beyond, providing a channel that can engage brands with consumers in new and exciting ways, enabling marketers to focus their campaigns on interacting locally with a progressively mobile generation of users.

With the ability to tie mobile vouchers, coupons and promotions into a consumer’s location, location-based advertising is not only creating brand awareness, it is also driving sales.

The evolution of mobile technologies, the growth of new platforms combined with our need to interact and consume information locally while on-the-go makes it clear that the proliferation of mobile location-based advertising is just around the corner.

Mobile handsets have become adept at serving a multitude of uses and unlike many other personal electronic devices, they are rarely switched off and never stray more than a few feet from their owners.

Campaign for location
In deploying mobile-centric, location-aware advertising campaigns, advertisers are tapping into the one device that matters.

In fact, ABI Research predicts that businesses will spend $1.8 billion on location-specific campaigns in 2015 as part of their overall mobile marketing budgets.

Mobile phones are simply better positioned for storing coupons and vouchers as well as providing time-sensitive location-based offers.

In an age of countless irrelevant advertisements, location is providing a clear differentiator to marketers by localizing their campaigns.

Wireless carriers are already aware of a wealth of valuable user-specific demographics such as age, gender and social characteristics, not to mention the specific model of handsets that consumers own, coupling all of this with live location data makes for a powerful tool in the advertiser’s arsenal.

Advertising campaigns that incorporate location-based information can provide advertisers with a better ROI through razor-sharp targeting.

Campaigns can be highly targeted to specific mobile users when they are in specific locations.

An example is providing users with Burger King ads and coupons for venues in their vicinity as they search for food or dining-related information or navigate in the area of a Burger King branch.

Location-based information integrated into an advertising campaign can also mean intelligent campaign management as campaigns can be flexible and adapt to changes on-the-fly.

Campaigns can also be tiered and offer different experiences to different users.

In addition, advertising and marketing campaigns that incorporate social media activity such as tweets and check-ins on Facebook Places are making for very engaging cross-platform promotions.

Friending social
Full integration between location information and social communities can further increase the effectiveness of location-based advertising, weaving in word-of-mouth and viral effects, as well as recommendations from friends, all powered by the context of real-time location.

Projects such as this can be used as a launch pad to build brand-loyal mobile and online communities.

Although mobile rich media can be an incredibly immersive experience, it can also be considered intrusive by consumers if ads are served at the wrong time or are of little interest.

To better target their customers, agencies are further increasing accuracy by allowing users to freely share their interests.

It may seem odd that customers are willing to voluntarily share their preferences with advertisers, but for a generation used to sharing their thoughts on the Internet, this is a logical next step.

As mobile services become better connected and deeply embedded into our lives, location-based advertising is going to boom and be perceived as useful, helpful information rather than just another ad.

Motti Kushnir is chief marketing officer of Telmap, Herzlia, Israel. Reach him at

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