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Have marketers forgotten about geotargeted mobile advertising?

Geotargeted mobile advertising is a hot commodity and a great way for marketers to not only drive in-store traffic, but make ads relevant to consumers. Although companies such as Best Buy and Ace Hardware are using location to their advantage, others are not.

Many marketers are missing the mark by not incorporating location into their mobile advertising mix. Consumers are always on the go and reaching them through their mobile device is an effective way to boast engagement.

"Agencies have been slow to take advantage of targeting by location," said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

"While location-awareness was heralded in recent years as a powerful way to prequalify an audience, it has not been tapped by ad platforms in a meaningful way," he said.

"In my opinion this is because there is far more mobile ad inventory than ad campaigns booked. Mobile ad networks likely want to broaden the net they cast, rather than narrow it, to maximize impressions rendered."

Ad impressions
According to Mr. Kerr, smart brands that sell consumer-direct should look beyond even click-throughs and think about insisting that the performance be linked to conversions.

"For retailers with mobile commerce sites, this is a promising new way to harness location-awareness and better bridge the gap between mobile marketing and mobile commerce," Mr. Kerr said.

"Consumers must be comfortable with sharing information that improves the online experience they are having," he said.

"In the mobile space this can be a very personal matter, as some do not like push advertising that
demonstrates the fact that an outside party knows their exact location.

"Smart retailers will match location-specific offers and limited timelines, that provide real value. An integrated mobile commerce platform is a key piece of the puzzle, as this allows campaign ROI to be tracked as incremental sales, not just branding."

There are not many geotargeted mobile campaigns for two reasons, per Tom Limongello, vice president of business development at Crisp, New York.

"Geotargeting requires a publisher with a login or third party cookie support, which generally means that this is a premium publisher running premium campaigns that are more general rather than performance, or they are not run because on iPhone at least 3rd party cookies are turned off," Mr. Limongello said.

"It does not mean that premium publishers should not geo-target," he said.

"Kraft has done a good job on Weather.com's sites and apps by targeting different creative for users in the South versus the North of the United States with wintry and summery creative designs and featured content."

Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis believes that geo market location should be tested now.

"Location is an important component in mobile marketing, but there are normally several other elements that would take priority over geo location-based marketing at this stage in the mobile ecosystem," Ms. Troutman said.

"For a solid 360-degree marketing strategy you would absolutely include geolocation," she said. "There will be solid growth and improvement in the category, in a younger, slightly skewed male demographic - under 30 - you will see strong growth. 

"This is just a general overview, any brand can accelerate performance in geolocation to their specific demographic by testing.

Driving engagement
Creating specific and targeted campaigns is a good way to drive user engagement.

For example, a mobile ad which features the nearest store location or tells consumers how far away it is not only helps drive in-store traffic, but users will be more inclined to tap on the ad.

"I think time of day is more important for targeting than geography, personally," Mr. Limongello said. "Think about brands like Budweiser's new platinum brand, who's tagline is 'For the other 9-5.'

"Mobile users should be the biggest part of this campaign and media should be targeted to outdoor and mobile devices," he said.

"I think for now the best geotargeting comes with offers like Scoutmob and Groupon that are visible when people check-in to Foursquare. I also think that automotive dealerships and retailers can leverage geotargeting for sales events and test drives a lot better than say entertainment and consumer packaged goods brands."

Walt Doyle, CEO of Where, Boston believes that there are many geotargeted mobile ads out there and many big brands including Best Buy, Petco, Ace Hardware and Victoria's Secret have ran geotargeted mobile campaigns.

"If marketers are interested only in branding campaigns, or driving app downloads, then traditional mobile advertising networks might be what they are looking for," Mr. Doyle said.

"However, if they are interested in actually driving demand and real foot traffic through physical locations, then geotargeted mobile advertising is the best option," he said. "We are seeing more and more brands interested in geotargeted mobile ad campaigns.

"We see geo-targeted mobile advertising as part of the larger shopping cycle where brands can reach consumers at the right time and place in order to facilitate the shopping experience. We expect this to become standard in mobile advertising. Mobile advertising coupled with location has the unique ability to target users at the bottom of the purchase funnel."

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York