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February 17, 2017

Marketers are increasingly incorporating geolocation into their mobile efforts, but there's still room for improvement, according to new location insights from the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association).

In one MMA survey of 400 respondents, 96 percent of participating marketers said they see location data as a key component of mobile strategy, and 90 percent of agencies agreed. While there's less consensus when it comes to how they're using location data, one application emerged as a clear favorite: real-time location-based advertising.

Taking Location-Based Advertising to the Next Level
Additional location insights from the MMA and Kantar Millward Brown can be found in their 2016 Global Mobile Trends Report, which analyzes the 2016 Global Smarties and Cannes Mobile Lions finalists and winners and identifies the trends and strategies that made for winning campaigns.

The MMA found that location-based targeting was used by 38 percent of finalists and winners, up from 18 percent in 2015. Yet there's still a way to go. The report notes that marketers can't rely on targeting alone. Targeting—whether it's location-based, time-based, or app-based—must be balanced with creative quality to have the strongest impact.
Other recommendations include:
  • Build campaigns from a mobile-first mind-set.
  • Drive emotion and connection.
  • Choose immersive ad formats like 360ᴼ video.
  • Accelerate adoption of augmented reality and virtual reality.
How to Stand Out in a Crowd
Award-winning entries can inspire marketers who want to put location data to good use in 2017. Consider these three Smarties-winning campaigns, which successfully harnessed innovation and creativity to powerful effect:

L'Oréal Men Expert
L'Oréal Men Expert used the Moji weather app and its avatar to reach men in China and promote its Comfort Max product, which protects skin against constant temperature change. The brand sought to capture consumers' attention during such fluctuations, specifically when a target's outdoor and indoor temperatures varied by eight degrees or more.

When that was the case, targets would see the app's avatar holding the product and, if they clicked on it, they could read about the temperature differences and request a product coupon to be redeemed at a specific retailer's nearest location. The avatar's clothing was customized to the culture and style of the viewer's region in China—and he spoke in the local dialect.

OLX, a free local classifieds platform in India, wanted to reach people in four cities who were in the market for cars and mobile devices. The goals: to convert them into OLX users and drive in-app engagement. To do so, OLX used hyperlocal targeting to serve ads on network apps and sites to targets in relevant physical locations. Shoppers in places that sold used cars would see banners asking them to buy or sell their vehicles on the platform. Likewise, viewers in stores that sold mobile devices would see ads encouraging them to sell their old phones on OLX before purchasing new ones.

Unilever wanted to increase awareness about Rexona Antibacterial Defence deodorant among men ages 18 to 35 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It targeted by audience persona, location, and time to reach men at a hyper-relevant point in their day—specifically, after work as they approached crowded and dusty bus stops and train stations.

The brand sought to communicate that the product could help them feel refreshed in such uncomfortable environments, and it served the men a rich media banner in apps. When a target clicked the ad, he saw it expand into a full-screen interstitial that provided not only the current temperature and humidity, but also a 360-degree Google image of his exact location. He could click on a "learn more" button to receive a unique coupon code for the product.
So, as momentum continues to build for geolocation, these examples serve as reminders of the diverse campaigns that can be driven by location data, especially when used in harmony with strong creative and targeting tools.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?

  1. An MMA survey of marketers and agencies found that most respondents see location data as a key component of their mobile strategy.
  2. Real-time location-based advertising is being employed by marketers more often than practices like geofencing and geoconquesting.
  3. The MMA recommends marketers balance targeting with creativity, adopt a mobile-first mind-set, drive emotion and connections, and embrace emerging technologies.

Mindy Charski is a Dallas-based freelancer who often writes about marketing, digital content and small business. Follow her on Twitter @mindycharski.
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