The use of location in targeting marketing communication is not a new phenomenon but, fuelled by the explosion of mobile devices and the data trails they leave, it has become a significantly more effective tool in recent years.
As a result, it has been forecast that as much as 43% of all adspend will be location targeted by 2019.
But understanding where an audience is and serving marketing messages relevant to that specific place only represents one facet of what a location-based strategy can provide to marketers.
In my view, there are two other components that are arguably more significant in terms of their potential to transform marketing effectiveness.
The first is the cross-over between the digital world and the physical world.
As access to the online world becomes increasingly dominated by mobile devices, location-based marketing provides a meeting of online and offline, of narrowcast and broadcast, of the real world and the virtual world.
Working together, mobile marketing and out-of-home provide powerful synergies.
Our research shows that mobile click-through rates increase by up to 15% when supported by OOH, and a major piece of industry research conducted last year demonstrated that better performing OOH campaigns create a 38% uplift in short-term brand action taken via mobiles, with 66% of all actions being direct to the brand itself.
The second is the ability to go beyond simply knowing where your audience is at a particular time to understanding where they have come from, where they are going and, crucially, what they are thinking, feeling and doing in that location.
This depth of context is gold dust in terms of ensuring that marketing has the highest possible relevance and timeliness, and it’s this deeper level of insight that perhaps explains why 75% of marketers consider location-based marketing a vital part of their future marketing strategy.
The traditional criteria of targeting the right people in the right medium is complemented by the right place, the right moment and the right state of mind.
Location-based marketing is most immediately associated with mobile marketing but the location-specific search, browsing, social media and app usage data derived from mobile devices can also revolutionise all other, location-based media channels and disciplines.
Probably the most significant of these is OOH. The rich and complex data now available means that OOH planning can be done to a level of sophistication only dreamt about a few years ago, and data-led, dynamic ad-serving technology like our own Liveposter platform can optimise digital OOH content in real time.
In a recent campaign for Microsoft, we saw a 62% increase in ad recall in the areas when location-specific, mobile behavioural data was used to optimise the content and uplifts of over 50% are regularly attainable.
But this opportunity for marketers isn’t in any way seen as intrusive or unwelcome by consumers. Quite the opposite. In a major survey conducted by Dentsu Aegis, the parent company of Posterscope, across nine countries, 80% of respondents chose ‘relevance to location’ as their top pick in terms of the content they wanted to see on digital OOH screens.
It’s clear to see that location-based marketing is evolving at pace. Bruce Rogers, chief insight officer at Forbes Media recently described it as "marketing’s vital frontier".
The scope and power of deeper data insights will help brands win when it comes to location-based marketing.
Stephen Whyte is chief executive of Posterscope