Marketing On A Map: Location-Based Ads and YOU!

Marketing is all about finding the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. Over the years, technology has allowed businesses to get more efficient and more specific with their efforts to do just that. Now, location-based marketing takes talking to potential consumers a great fit for the right companies, too. 

Location-based marketing has a few different forms, but the most popular and useful relies on creating targeted digital ads on Google and social media platforms based on some specific locations. Because location-based marketing is focused on real-world geography, it’s a strong spot for brick-and-motor retailers and restaurants to tap into digital. There are a lot of these types of companies that don’t invest in a digital presence. Their transactions are all in the store, not online like eCommerce businesses. 

Smartphone and GPS location information now gives these real-world transactions a digital edge by allowing advertisements to pop up in the right place at the right time. A great example is choosing to serve ads within a very small radius, especially during peak traffic times. During the National Cherry Festival each July, Traverse City sees tens of thousands of tourists all concentrated within a three-mile radius of its downtown. They’re all looking for coffee, food, and a world-class retail experience. Using location-based ads, businesses downtown can reach these visitors without knowing their broad interest, hometowns, age, or other information that might shape a more traditional digital campaign. 

As valuable as serving ads to customers close by, targeting those who aren’t can actually be useful, too. Downtown businesses or other shopping centers can serve ads to shoppers in rival locations; we’ve served ads for downtown coffee shops and restaurants to a small two-mile radius around the Grand Traverse Mall with some really great results. We’re targeting active shoppers and offering fresh hunting grounds; without any information beyond location, we know we have a very valuable audience to cater to. 

Geofencing offers an even higher degree of accuracy, though it does typically require a higher degree of access to a customer’s GPS information. Most true geofencing campaigns rely on the customer to download and use an app built by the retailer. For example, a coffee shop might have an app that tracks loyalty points, offer discounts, or send out promotions. Using such an app, the coffee shop can create a geofencing campaign that sends out a notification to users within, say, a mile of its closest location and offer a $1 off a latte. Additionally, some companies have even targeted their competitors and sent out notifications that offer customers an incentive to come back. 

Both of these tools can offer long term benefits, too. Instead of serving ads or sending notifications immediately, companies can wait for days or even weeks with an offer, reminder, or question to stimulate return business. Shoppers who stopped by a furniture store may come back if they receive a coupon, while people who bought a new pair of shoes last week might respond well with an update that a new line of similar apparel is in stock. 

With more tools than ever to built effective digital campaigns, even brick-and-mortar businesses can use data to do more with their marketing budget. We can help you learn more and build a great location-based campaign this spring; contact us to get started!