Location has been a dimension for serving targeted pay-per-click ads on platforms like AdWords and Facebook for a long time now. This is the most rudimentary form of location-based targeting, but it is still extremely useful. Narrowing down your target area allows you to push a message to the audience most likely to respond or able to respond. For most small businesses, it is about spending your marketing dollars wisely and ensuring you are communicating your offer to those who can take action.
Using Smartphone Apps
All smartphones now have some form of geolocation tracking built-in, whether that be via GPS or by triangulation using mobile-phone towers. Most apps ask for location services to be activated when the user first uses the app. It may be an app to offer a loyalty discount, a catalogue or a shop but if the business has a physical location, they can use that app’s location data to distribute messages.
A large coffee brand outlet has sent a discount or message to consumers with their loyalty app who are approaching a their store. They don’t measure the success of the campaign in click-through-rate, instead, they judge their success based on how many people visit the store after seeing the message.
Using Smartphones and Smart Devices
Third party hardware offers business owners and marketing a whole new frontier for location-based marketing. With nearly a third of the world’s population owning a smartphone in 2017, several companies are building hardware to help businesses use the data available on these devices to market to them. Again, we start getting into the ‘big brother’ world of location-based marketing, but overall it means higher returns for businesses and more relevant messaging for consumers. It’s not advertising that most consumers hate, it’s irrelevant advertising.
There are two main ways marketers can engage in location-based mobile marketing using a smartphone with 3rd party hardware.
Technology like the Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, sensors and microchips that communicate with a smartphone NFC (near-field communications) chip are starting to become more familiar. These beacons are still relatively expensive to roll out (not to mention near-impossible to get a hold of) so adoption has been slow but it will pick up. The sensor allows the reader to detect users within a set distance from it and collect data from their devices. The reader can also ‘push’ notifications to the consumer’s smartphone via the NFC chip. This notification could be an offer or some other marketing message, as well as multimedia, as the consumer nears the sensor.
Geo-fences are virtual fences that use GPS, RFID, WiFi or electromagnetic technologies to allow marketers to collect data or deploy a message when a user crosses the virtual threshold. While Geo-fences are not expensive to set up, they do need to be paired with an app on the consumer’s smartphone that has location services enabled and active. You’ve probably experienced crossing a geo-fence before without knowing it. On an Android device, consumers visiting a restaurant or cafe may be asked to leave a review for that business upon leaving. The consumer crossing the geo-fence triggers this notification asking for your review.
The ability to distribute a marketing message using a geo-fence is limited due to the smartphone owner having to allow permission for the app have access location data. Without this turned on, the geo-fence is useless. Leaders in this space include tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google, as well as other forward-thinking companies. These companies are driving innovation in this space as a cost-effective way to deliver targeted messages to consumers.
What does the future hold for Locations-based Digital Marketing?
Locations-based Digital Marketing already feels like sci-fi but in reality, it is only in its infancy and has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential. The applications for marketers are fascinating and we’re confident locations-based marketing will become more and more prevalent as the technology becomes cheaper and more accessible for businesses. Location-based marketing in the future will have the ability to augment reality. With more sensors analysing a user’s state of mind, stress levels, health, the weather around them, and a load of other factors, the applications almost become endless.
AirRentalz has harnessed location-based marketing within its platform. We are connecting local businesses with hosts which allows us to advertise service providers to potential guests who will be staying with a host in a specific area. By connecting hosts with local and other businesses we can deliver greater experiences for their guests by presenting them great places to eat, visit, sight see and do activities while they are holidaying or staying in that location.
By harnessing the power of data by location, AirRentalz is taking location-based marketing to the next level for the short-term accommodation industry and the businesses that this industry supports.