Here’s Why You Should Use Geo-Targeting and Interest Data to Improve Mobile Ad Performance

By Kimberlee Morrison Comment

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Mobile continues to create new opportunities and challenges for marketers. Mobile devices have become invaluable tools for Millennials and Gen Z in particular, providing marketers with rich data about location and interests. This data can be used to improve in-store customer experiences and deliver more personalized advertising.

However, the one of the biggest challenges with mobile is tracking ad performance. And it’s not really a unique problem, according to UberMedia CMO Michael Hayes, adding that even the digital ad model doesn’t really work on mobile either. He is optimistic that the market will work out the kinks and says it’s time for advertisers to look at the mobile advertising in a new way.

Since the top 25 advertisers usually sell products in the physical world, most of which are measuring performance based on media outcomes such as clicks and impressions. Hayes notes that location is important for companies that want to get buyers in stores, and mobile has the ability to provide this data:

One of the things unique things to a mobile ad buy is that you can link location data to real-world location visits. And that is a much more compelling performance outcome — it’s a business outcome rather than a media outcome.

While location data can be a powerful tool, Hayes admits it’s not enough to build a highly targeted custom audience profile. In addition to providing information about where consumers have been, mobile devices can generate data about which apps they’re using, along with other social signals. The interest data combined with location data is what helps advertisers pull together very specific target audiences.

Unfortunately many advertisers are still using the old television style targeting that simply aren’t specific enough. Rather than viewing audiences through the lens of a television buying demo of adults 25-to-54—which pretty much includes everyone—Hayes says he works with agencies to create more targeted customer personas using mobile:

Guess what vehicle is with you all the time basically tracking all those little digital breadcrumbs? Your mobile device.

He added that the data from mobile devices can be used to “fortify the planning process” to understand things like who the most frequent shoppers are at a particular retail location or who buys tacos in the middle of the night. This information can also be used to optimize campaigns in real time.

Hayes offered these tips for advertisers who want to use geo-targeting and interest data to improve mobile ad performance:

  1. Conquest your competitors. Retargeting consumers who have visited yours and your competitors’ locations works well to drive repeat visits and harvest foot traffic to physical stores.
  2. Use location aware creative. Leverage location cues to serve dynamic, hyper-relevant creative, and give consumers a sense of nearest retail location.
  3. Measure incremental foot traffic. Measure visits plus incremental lift from publishers you’re buying from. Just because a network has a lot of reach doesn’t mean it’s the best buy in media plan.  

Readers: What other tips would you offer?

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