All location-based mobile advertising campaigns are not created equal and, for retailers, the nuances between data sources and surfaced promotions have several layers of intricacy.
Mobile advertising continues to pique the interest of retail marketers – and investors. Just today, end-to-end mobile marketing platform Swirl Networks closed an $8 million strategic investment round from Hearst Ventures to improve “microlocation targeting” to in-store consumers. Early brand users include Kenneth Cole and Timberland.
According to the “State of the Market: Location Powered Mobile Advertising, Deep Dive on Retail” report released by Verve Mobile, driving foot traffic to physical stores is the top objective for retailers leveraging location-based mobile advertising tactics.
Based on an analysis of data from more than 1,500 mobile advertising campaigns from 50 (small and large) brand customers over an 18-month period, Verve determined that location targeting for time-sensitive sales and promotional events was the No. 2 objective for retail marketers. The retail verticals most entrenched in location-based mobile advertising included big-box, consumer electronics and department stores, which placed ahead of grocery/convenience stores and home and specialty retailers in terms of adoption.
Although “geofencing,” or targeting placements to consumers within a certain geographic range of a retailer’s store, continues to gain steam, Verve data found that by combining geofenced ads with “geoconquesting,” or serving an ad to a consumer in close proximity to a competitor’s store, it yielded an average uplift in overall click-through rates of 30%, the company claimed. Across all campaigns, "location-verified data" (or data that underwent a latitudinal/longitudinal analysis of exchange inventory) yielded 1.04% CTRs as opposed to non-verified location data, which garnered a .23% CTR.
When retail brands combined geofencing with location-based audience targeting, there were more layers to mobile ads results. Macy’s, for example, wanted to generate foot traffic and drum up buzz and attendance at in-store events and grand openings. By geofencing store locations and deploying location-based audience targeting, the brand was able to determine insights like the fact that its sweet spot for mobile click-through-rates was within one to two miles from the physical store location. As a whole, significant drop-off typically occurred at a distance greater than six miles.
“Much of our larger, long-term retail partners are using a combination of both audience and geocentric location-powered advertising tactics and that’s where they’re seeing the greatest results,” said James Smith, CRO of Verve Mobile. “For audience targeting and demographic targeting, the combination of location and third-party demographic data is typically what we’re using.”
To prove the impact of advertising on a retail sale, for example, “we have access through third parties to credit card transactional data, scanner data, Nielsen Catalina data, which are good examples. I would bucket that into real, live transactional data.”
Smith added, “We find, in general, there is no silver bullet in location-powered advertising. It is very complex and it’s different for every advertiser for every campaign. In retail, you often have very short campaigns that are behind a particular promotion." For short-term campaigns, foot-traffic indexes could prove to be more useful than third-party transactional data, which would add more of a layer of richness over a longer period of time.