New York, NY – March 23, 2016 – Location-based mobile advertising is fast becoming a competitive differentiator, according to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with xAd: “Location: A Strategic Marketing Imperative.” With mobile surpassing desktop computers as the most essential tool for making a purchasing decision, the ability to capture purchase intent offline and convert that into additional revenue is fast becoming a strategic marketing imperative.

By 2018, global smartphone users will reach the 2.5 billion mark, according to eMarketer. Despite the rapid growth and adoption of smartphones, the majority of retail transactions (over 90%), still occur in brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, the goal for marketers shouldn’t be to replace the offline experience with an online one but to enable a faster, more seamless purchase process.

Consumers’ expectations are changing as apps such as Uber, Tinder and Yelp raise the bar on immediate service delivery. Whether mapping the nearest coffee shop or swiping for the closest love connection, location data is currently changing how people shop, eat, date and travel. As a result, shoppers now expect in-the-moment, personalized, relevant experiences, whether purchasing products online or browsing the aisles of a brick-and-mortar retailer.

For marketers, this new breed of mobile-dependent, highly demanding consumer is a prime opportunity to engage and activate customers in innovative ways. Chief among these new strategies is location-based marketing—one of the most powerful means for identifying and delivering on consumers’ real-time intent. The goal is to leverage intent to create purchase incentives and foster a more personal engagement. As a result, location is now critical to tapping into these precise moments of decision making.

“Location is now marketing’s vital frontier,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “It allows you to send relevant messages at just the right moment.”

Based on in-depth interviews with senior executives at some of today’s leading brands, this report examines how they are leveraging location to gain a competitive edge.

Angelique Krembs, Vice President of Marketing Activation, PepsiCo North America Beverages mentions in the report: “Now you can actually talk to consumers when they’re near your store, or influence them where your brands are present.”

“Marketers who rely only on search and social are neglecting a huge opportunity to tap into offline behaviors,“ said Monica Ho, CMO at xAd, Inc. “Location data allows marketers to act on consumer patterns and needs in real-time, using relevant and contextual messaging. Bridging the gap between online and offline is the key to unlocking 90% of additional commerce opportunities.”

Key Insights:

  • Mobile research indicates purchase intent: Consumers that are researching products and services on their smartphones while on the go demonstrate a great deal of intent to purchase and to purchase quickly. In fact, according to the “Mobile Path to Purchase” study, released by mobile-location ad platform xAd, on-the-go researchers are 45% more likely to make a purchase within the hour over those at home—an important signal for marketers to detect and act on quickly.
  • Nearly half of the population uses mobile to make purchase decisions: 44% of consumers report their mobile devices—smartphones or tablets—are the most essential aid to their purchase decision, according to xAd’s “Mobile Path to Purchase” study.
  • 90% of retail transactions still happen in the real world*: As a result, the goal for marketers isn’t to replace the offline experience with an online one but to enable a faster, more seamless purchase process. The right mobile strategy can enhance customer experience by nurturing brand-customer connections in-store. (*Source: The Department of Commerce)
  • Location is a state of mind: Where people are, or where they have been, can provide powerful context about their needs as consumers, the best ways to tailor messages and offerings to them, and their immediate intent to purchase.
  • Foot traffic measurement is a near-term reality: Soon brands will be able to use location data to not only measure how much foot traffic a mobile ad drives into a store but where shoppers are most likely to head next based on their previous buying patterns and behavior. Using this predictive information, brands can attempt to entice consumers away from competitors with location-targeted mobile campaigns.