The ability for mobile devices to track and report a person’s location in real time with a reliable degree of accuracy has come into its own. The tendency of consumers to use that feature is increasing in popularity, as well.
According to the Pew Institute, “74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.”
Use of a geolocation feature is more than a nice-to-have option on a smartphone or tablet — its use has become a routine part of a consumer’s daily life. With U.S. smartphone penetration at 74% and rising, this represents a significant market share of the U.S. buying population.
Geo-Location Tied To Consumer Behavior
What’s especially interesting to marketers is that, aside from seeking directions to specific place, geolocation-enabled activities are most often directly related to consumer-related behavior. Whether it’s looking for a good place to grab a drink or researching a specific product in a retail store, customers have come to rely on their mobile devices as vital sources of information upon which they make an increasing number of decisions about how to spend their time and money.
Trend reports also show an interesting tipping point, consumers are now more likely to “check out” information that’s related to their current location rather than share or “check in” with their current status.
Checking Out Info, Rather Than Checking In
This means that there is a decrease in activity for check-in services such as Foursquare and social hubs like Facebook and an increase in consumers’ preference for marketers to nudge or push relevant, personalized content to their devices in real time. (That’s why Foursquare’s latest iOS version relies more on push alerts.) Alert-based ads and product information fit this appetite for content well and provide genuine value to consumers.
In fact, a nifty infographic provided by MDG Advertising shows that a whopping 72% of consumers say they will respond to calls-to-action in marketing messages they receive within sight of the retailer. With only 23% of retail marketers using some type of geotargeted data in their mobile marketing, there is a huge opportunity to give customers what they want when they want it.
Data-driven geolocation notifications represent a major evolution point from in-store displays that encouraged users to text to opt-in to sweeps or promotions or email promos delivered based on a promotional calendar.
Incentives With Alerts
Some of the most popular mobile geolocation-centered campaigns involve couponing, but not all. Special gifts, alerts to flash sales and early access are also popular incentives that tend to have the pleasant side effect of driving customer loyalty. Many of the most effective incentive-based campaign include some type of alert.
For example, a recent Taco Bell “happy hour” promotion had not only a proximity alert element but included a feature to “remind me at 2pm” for an effective one-two promo punch. Applying a predictive component will also prove to increase the power of a geotarget campaign. It’s more effective to market to someone when they are likely to be at a location but haven’t yet made that decision.
For those marketers that are ahead of the location-based marketing curve (as many fast food marketers are), there’s a new, more hard-hitting strategy known as geo-conquesting. This is a form of geo-fencing where marketers target competitors’ locations with their own aggressive offers. This is another reason for marketers to plan and implement a solid location-based mobile marketing strategy — if they don’t, they risk losing market share to mobile-savvy competitors.