There have been major paradigm shifts in the retail marketplace – we’ve seen the recent collapse of high street brands such as BHS and Austin Reed; e-commerce giants such as Amazon are seeing exponential growth. Despite this growth, 90% of retail transactions are still completed offline. At the same time, media consumption is happening more and more on our mobile devices. With its unique ability to collect location data, how can marketers use mobile to bridge the online and offline worlds?

Imran Khan, Head of Programmatic and Partnerships at xAd

  • Location helps marketers influence consumers in the moments that matter – the places they visit in the real world.
  • Location is hard – technology helps address the challenges surrounding the quality and integrity of location signals and place data.
  • By matching real-time customer data to correct location context, brands can create innovative digital experiences that drive sales and increase loyalty.

Location technology Imran Khan is being used in a plethora of ways, integral to how developers and brands deliver their experience to consumers and reach them in the moments that matter. So what are they key reasons behind this significant shift towards location becoming a strategic marketing imperative rather than a mere targeting tactic?

First, location is playing an integral part in the value proposition of the on-demand services we use everyday in apps such as Uber, Deliveroo and Tinder. Consumers are more comfortable giving up data in exchange for what they determine a valuable experience, which is why location aware apps are expected to triple by 2019 according to Juniper Research.

Secondly, location is helping marketers to build a personal relationship with consumers via mobile advertising. With the majority of retail transactions taking place offline, location can help advertisers influence the purchase funnel. Whether that’s driving awareness of a new FMCG brand, driving fast food store visits or a loyalty offer for a department store customer, location is critical for marketers to attribute advertising spend in the real world and why over the next five years, eMarketer predicts that location targeted ads will make up 40% of mobile adspend in the US.

So how is this possible? A mobile device is able to leverage a wide range of anonymised and aggregated audience data, including past or current data of the device location. This provides marketers with a number of unique opportunities, including:

  1. Location is the biggest indicator of purchase intent. Location allows marketers to build a more precise picture of consumers based on real world behaviours. This means marketers are able to better understand consumer offline intent based on the places they visit, in the same way search helped marketers understand a consumer’s online intent based on the keywords they type in.
  2. Having the ability to match real-time data to a precise, accurate location allows brands to interpret and act on the most relevant moments to introduce a brand’s message for a more meaningful experience.

With the value and opportunities associated with location-based marketing, there are also multiple challenges. Simply put, location is hard. That, compounded by the fact that there are thousands of address changes occurring in the UK on a daily basis, makes location extremely difficult to master. The challenges surround the accuracy and precision of data signals, as well as the understanding of the quality and integrity of the place data in the real world.

Solving these challenges is crucial in doing location-based marketing effectively. There are many ways companies are looking to solve this issue, and at xAd we achieved this through two methods:

  • Using a number of weighted signals to verify a location through patented technology to determine “foundational accuracy.”
  • Using BlueprintsTM technology to draw outlines of specific stores, buildings, parking lots and whole retail blocks, reaching consumers with accuracy and precision.

The physical and digital worlds are becoming increasingly connected, and consumers are expecting brands to be able to keep pace in the moment. For savvy marketers, location is the key that can identify, deliver on and measure these precise moments, and facilitate instant connectivity. By matching real-time customer data to correct location context, brands can effectively create innovative and relevant digital experiences that drive sales and increase loyalty.

View the entire article on Business Reporter here.