Closing the Loop on Location-Based Marketing
IgnitionOne's Michael Ragusa explores the evolving potential of beacons in 'mobile-first' marketing.
For years, mobile advertising has been viewed by agencies and marketers as a difficult to measure, yet necessary component of digital display campaigns. With the average U.S. adult spending more than three hours per day on their mobile device (versus two hours/day on desktop), it becomes a channel impossible to ignore. So with more time clearly being spent on mobile devices, why does mobile ad spend still lag desktop by 15 percent?
The answer is the dogging question of measurability.
With desktop, there is a very clear, linear line from impression to conversion. Furthermore, the all too coveted cookie has provided us with an ample number of ways to slice and dice that conversion in order to determine attribution. When it comes to mobile, the cookie to which we have all become so accustomed and upon which we have depended for nearly a decade, becomes virtually obsolete and only applicable to mobile web. With the average user spending less than 10 percent of their time on mobile web and 90 percent of their time in app, mobile web and thus the mobile cookie become a moot method of measurement.
As consumers’ eye balls are overwhelmingly drawn to in-app mobile inventory, we begin to see other richer signals emerge. Arguably one of the most important of those richer signals is location. Traditionally, marketers leveraged GPS (lat/long) to geofence users and/or track store visitation. This remains a particularly useful method of measurement for brick and mortar locations. One could look at a specific radius to deem whether or not a user whom consumed an ad, physically made their way to the desired retail outlet. One problem that arises is, how do you know what actually happened within this black box radius? How do you differentiate the user that may have just drove past or through the location’s parking lot, without actually entering the premise much less purchasing a product, from the user who converted?
Especially given recent advances to the technology, beacons assist in illuminating the black box. Beyond simply measuring whether or not a consumer entered a specific radius/geofence, beacons measure hyperlocal movement throughout specific areas of interest within the retail environment. This movement or consumer journey, helps marketers understand not only what type of media drove a consumer to their store, but what products or incentives caught that consumer’s eye and ultimately, most importantly, it answers the question, did they purchase? Beyond this added level of hyper local targeting and the ability to track dwell time, beacons are also now being utilized to send incentivized push notifications as well as interactive product locator maps. These interactive maps can be used by a consumer while in a retail location to track down a specific product already on their mobile app store wish list.
A beacon strategically placed on certain racks of merchandise, entranceways, directory terminals and registers (POS) can provide this level of granularity that was once missing from the mobile conversion path. This level of engagement is arguably more compelling than someone simply clicking and buying on desktop. Campaigns can now employ a more strategic, cross-screen, store visitation component than ever before. After all, what proves the value of mobile more than engaging with a user top funnel on display, re-targeting that user mid funnel on mobile and then tracking their physical in store purchase? Understanding how and when a consumer is engaging with physical merchandise, in store and then being able to lead that consumer to a specific piece of merchandise via incentivized real time push notification, increases brand loyalty and is the definition of direct response, in its truest form.
**Mike Ragusa is director of Strategic Accounts for Mobile at IgnitionOne. Mike oversees the mobile DSP business and client base, from both a sales and business development perspective at IgnitionOne. He manages a team of mobile account managers and operations personnel.