As a recent Forbes Insights report, “Location: A Strategic Marketing Imperative,” sponsored by xAd, points out, location-based mobile advertising is fast becoming a strategic imperative in today’s data-driven, highly competitive landscape.
It’s easy to understand why. Mobile is quickly surpassing desktop computers as the most essential aid for making a purchasing decision. In fact, by 2018, global smartphone users will reach the 2.5 billion mark, according to eMarketer. And nearly 86 million consumers will make a purchase on their device in 2016. At the same time, more and more shoppers are recognizing the value exchange of sharing information, such as location data, in return for value in the form of coupons, loyalty points or relevant information about a product or service.

Consumers’ expectations are also changing. In addition to more personalized communications, consumers are also demanding more immediate returns on their interactions with brands. With the tap of a screen, a consumer can now order a taxi, an out-of-stock cashmere sweater, organic produce or a date for Saturday night. Uber, Tinder, Yelp—they are all wildly popular apps that are resetting consumer expectations and reducing acceptable response times from brands.

For marketers, this new breed of mobile-dependent, highly demanding consumer is more than simply a challenge. It’s a prime opportunity to engage and activate customers in new and innovative ways. Chief among these new strategies is location-based marketing. As it is, the number of location-driven apps is set to skyrocket. Over the next five years, location-based ads will make up over 40% of mobile spend, reports eMarketer. And Juniper Research reports that the number of location-aware apps is expected to triple by 2019, making it a significant subset of the mobile application marketplace.

All of which means location is fast becoming one of the most powerful means for identifying and delivering on consumers’ real-time intent. The goal is to create purchase incentives and foster engagement. As a result, location is now critical to tapping into these precise moments of decision making.

How a consumer uses his or her smartphone is also a clear indicator of intent. For instance, 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.

As consumer expectations rise, location is also set to play an even larger role in the global expansion plans of some of today’s top U.S. corporations. Location-based marketing allows brands to be sensitive to varying cultural and geographic sensibilities, as well as individual expectations, by recognizing where consumers are and at what time of the day.

View the entire article on Forbes.