Advertisers Now Harness the Power of Location-Based Apps By: Kyle Nussbaum The popularity of mobile advertising has increased as brands have harnessed the effectiveness of location-based technology. Before, mobile ads and messaging functioned like it was on a desktop platform, with banners, overlays and pre-roll videos that targeted a specific demographic based on tracking measures. Although the messaging might resonate with the viewer and create awareness, it was not within moments of making a stop or purchase decision. Now, the way we shop and awareness of brand activity has changed dramatically and provides a message that just might resonate based on interests, preferences and apps we regularly use on devices that we cant live without. In a cluttered market place where multiple advertisers are vying for attention, location-based advertising through mobile provides a relevant message that offers value, gives specific directions to obtain it and is convenient for the user based on proximity to store location through geo-fencing where consumers within a set mile radius of a location are served. And this is very exciting for the industry. In January, an IAB study concluded that 66% of marketers believed location-based advertising the most exciting mobile opportunity in 2016. (https://econsultancy.com/blog/67418-what-is-location-based-advertising-why-is-it-the-next-big-thing/) The most effective mobile ads in this context are those that provide a specific offer that will likely propel the viewer to take action. Generic messaging creates awareness, just as traditional advertising does, but a substantial offer increases follow-through in that moment since they are in a direct position to make that decision. Initial hic-ups of early location based campaigns have been learned from and better targeting tactics have been formulated. Early days saw advertisers starting broad, but as the ability and technology to narrow this focus down to those more likely to act, ROI, effectiveness and click-thru rates have inevitably increased. (http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/are-marketers-finally-getting-hang-location-based-mobile-ads-167212) One such campaign that we executed on behalf of Wendys is on the Waze platform, which bills itself as the worlds largest community-based traffic and navigation app. A location such as Philadelphia, where this campaign is live, has over 450,000 people who use the app on average 13.9 times a month, and during this time spend 9 hours on it while driving. With so many smart phone users that launch these type of apps that utilize location-based technology, there are plenty of opportunities for advertisers to reach this audience. When a Wazer as the company calls them drives near a store location, a brand logo will appear and they can click on it for more information and directions. As noted earlier, having a valuable offer will increase the amount of clicks that ultimately end with a transaction. For Wendys, we took two approaches that both resonated well with the audience. A great offer already available in the store like $1.99 Baconator Fries and an offer exclusively on the platform such as buy any premium salad get a free small green tea or bottled water free. It s actually somewhat surprising to see how many brands still use generic messaging, when prime opportunities exist to really provide a value proposition. At this time, a brand can really stand out from the competition with a strong offer, and when messaging speaks to a users value, then creative with the copy free or to a lesser extent strong value price-point will stay top-of-mind with drivers, capable of inspiring them to re-route to the nearest Wendys location. During the course of this eight-week flight that began in August and ended in September, the campaign generated 9.6K clicks and over 4,000 navigations to Wendys. The navigation rates were high, which topped the QSR category benchmark. Most importantly, navigation rates reflect trips to the nearest Wendys location that appeared on the users mobile device. Awareness of an offer or nearby Wendys location has been generated, but action and the option to navigate to the restaurant simultaneously demonstrates the effectiveness of location-based mobile advertising. So path-to-purchase options have changed dramatically, but how about the actual store experience? Advertisers can now target customers while they are inside, as mobile devices have become integral not just to someones social, personal or work life but also to the shopping experience. Customers are starting to use it as method of payment, and some retailers have done away with the traditional cash register and complete transactions on iPads or similar devices. Brands have created apps that enhance the customer experience by encouraging shoppers to share what they are doing and where they are to receive coupons and discounts; they have built digital maps that navigate through the store and show price points; they allow loyalty members to pre-order food or beverages in order to skip lines. The brick and mortar store experience is no longer contained in four walls, just as TV is no longer watched in just a family room. Mobile technology featured in brand apps that are activated based on location in a particular store have made shopping an interactive experience. Looking at where mobile was a few years ago in relation to brands and advertising we have come a long way, but can even go further. And that should excite us! As recent as 2013, several major brands and retailers didnt even have a mobile website, yet alone a specific app or presence on a traffic-based app. We are starting to see effective mobile advertising because brands now understand how it drives transactions in real time and are allocating more dollars to this medium. Not only can brands create awareness in the traditional sense, now they can deliver conveniently close to their locations or while in the store. Its up to agencies and advertisers to stay on top of this technology, to utilize it in their own lives to understand it and the possibilities, and think of innovative ideas through it that can have a profound effect on the bottom line.