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A Look at Location-Based Advertising

in Mobile Marketing with tags , , , , , ,

Dunkin Donuts delivers a location-based ad via NAVTEQ.
Dunkin Donuts delivers a location-based ad through digital map provider NAVTEQ (via Flickr).

This week, 360i welcomed a panel of guest speakers as part of its Innovation Learning Academy, a series of lectures and training sessions that help educate employees about emerging trends in digital marketing space. David Berkowitz, Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy, moderated a discussion on location-based advertising – an area that’s poised to be “the next big advertising trend,” according to Mediaweek.

Guest speakers included:

• Scott Dunlap, CEO of NearbyNow
• Shafiq Sharrif, Director of Advertising Products at Whrrl
• Danny Reinert, Director of Interactive Advertising Sales at NAVTEQ
• Mike Burke, Emerging Business Group at Google

How do people experience location-based advertisements?

Individuals can experience these location-based ads using desktop and mobile applications. Mike Burke, who works with Google’s Emerging Media business group – which includes services like Google Maps and Gmail – said most people experience LBA through Google.com. From there, users can conduct region-specific searches, for example “pizza New York.”

A Google search for gelato eateries in New York.
A Google search for gelato eateries in New York.

Other panelists said their location-based ads are predominately experienced through mobile applications. Danny Reinert noted that NAVTEQ can deliver targeted ads within close proximity of a store location to Garmin users or through the Centrl iPhone app, which is a “buddy finder” application that currently runs ads for La Quinta and Chili’s.

Similary, Scott Dunlap of NearbyNow cited the popularity of Lucky magazine’s Lucky at Your Service application, a shopping tool that enables users to find and purchase their favorite looks from the popular fashion publication. NearbyNow helps shoppers buy things around them, and also tracks the affect of web-browsing on store purchases.

A NearbyNow search for Air Force One basketball shoes yields location-based results. Searchers can choose to see if the product is in stock or buy online.

Shafiq Sharrif said people can experience his company’s product, Whrrl, through mobile devices and desktop computers. The Whrrl iPhone application reaches thousands of on-the-go individuals through mobile devices. In addition, desktop-based users can view personal stories about what people are doing, where they are and who they’re with on Whrrl.com or through Twitter Search.

How much do the devices matter?

Most panelists agreed that the iPhone has a clear advantage over other smartphones, nothing that the development of the 3.0 model will present new opportunities for marketers. One such development is the advent of push notifications, which means that third party servers can ping Apple in order to push out notifications to mobile devices. The 3.0 model will also allow users to charge content and have it billed to their iTunes account.

Dunlap noted that a staggering 80 percent of individuals are more likely to download an app on an iPhone than on any other smartphone. Blackberry came in second at 6 percent, according to his research. One of the reasons for this large gap is that a large number of Blackberry owners use the device exclusively for business.

Burke said devices don’t matter as much to Google, adding that since Google is “platform agnostic,” the innovation of new platforms is good for the company.

To what degree are marketers more focused on the “old” web vs. the mobile web?

Panelists agreed that there’s an obvious shift toward mobile advertising. According to research from the Kelsey Group, local mobile ad revenue is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2013 — quite a jump from the $160 million reported in 2008.

According to Burke, “conversations are changing,” thanks in large part to the rise of iPhones and smartphones. Reinert and Dunlap were in agreement with this notion – citing new mobile devices as the “catalyst” for the shift. Although desktop users represent the highest volume of web users, mobile is growing at a significant pace.

The panelists also noted a conflict between traditional and online media. Much of this has to do with an industry-wide budget shift that’s moving ad dollars away from direct mail, classified ads and newspapers to online channels. With this, Burke said, comes a challenge since marketers expect a higher level of measurement abilities with online relative to more traditional channels. Sharrif added that more “progressive” retailers are looking to consolidate their online and offline marketing practices.

How can marketers use these tools?

Panelists explained how location-based advertisements can be harnessed by marketers by using entertainment brands as an example. Sharrif said Whrrl helps marketers leverage the public’s “hunger” for celebrity information by using the iPhone and SMS app to distribute real-time information about celebrities, TV shows and movies. By doing this, entertainment brands can grow a following, drive awareness, build community and ultimately inspire people to share events and information with their friends.

Whrrl 2.0 lets users share personal stories via Whrrl.com or the Whrrl iPhone app.
Whrrl 2.0 lets users share personal stories via Whrrl.com or the Whrrl iPhone app.

Reinert noted that location and intent, and reaching the right person at the right time, can be a recipe for success. For example, LBA can enable marketers to send directions to a movie theater, help people locate their friends and even deliver promotional coupons for nearby venues.

Location-based advertising grants marketers tremendous opportunity to deliver highly targeted advertisements to potential customers at the right place and at the right moment. The continued development of mobile technology will enable marketers get even closer to the point of purchase — an advantage that brands will increasingly leverage in the coming years.