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Online ads are tricky and mobile ads are no exception. There’s a strong undercurrent of distrust towards advertising online thanks to the brilliantly awful tactic of unremitting pop-ups and numerous imitations of “Download now” buttons on download pages.
There is always the intelligent option, however. Mobile ads can be supported by user data to the point that they’re not only relevant but timely too. And they don’t need to be intrusive, either. Native advertising on platforms like Instagram enables ads to resemble ordinary content (though explicitly identifying itself as an ad) and will appear on an individual’s feed who has shared data that implies they might be interested.
Because of the diminutive screen size of mobile devices, as well as the general trend of condensed, consumable content that mobile thrives on exporting, ads need to be concise. Instant gratification is a growing trend online – people want fast, unabridged results – so mobile advertising can’t beat around the bush.
Mobile use is growing rapidly – it’s now used more than desktops to browse the internet. With its popularity growing, marketers now have a new, evolving resource to reach their audience. Don’t get left behind!
Geolocation as a concept is defined as the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, Internet-connected computer or mobile device. Interestingly, the earliest known example of geolocation dates back to the ancient Greeks who used stars to triangulate their position on land or sea.
As a technology, Geolocation was first developed by the US and Germany in the 1930s and known simply as radar. However, geolocation, as we have come to realize it today, started with Google Maps in 2005.
Fast forward to the present day: Geolocation in marketing has become one of the latest industry buzzwords. But many mobile teams have only a vague idea of what it actually means, both in theory and practice.
Keep reading for an overview of what geolocation marketing means and why it matters.
Geolocation marketing refers to the collection of data about a person’s physical location, usually provided through GPS satellites and internet protocol (IP) addresses. If you’ve ever opened a map app and zoomed in to see just how accurate the little blue dot is, that’s GPS-supplied geolocation data at work. Alternately, when you open a map on your computer’s browser, it will automatically open in your general location or city based on your IP address.
If the phone’s GPS is turned off (or if you are indoors), the location data is instead triangulated from cell towers. This method is less precise, but it still works relatively well. If you’ve opened your map while underground or in a building, you’ve probably received your location data from a cell tower.
So smartphones and handheld devices ping a satellite or cell tower to determine where in the world it is. And once the device obtains this information, it can then share it with maps, restaurant guides or weather and retail apps.
You can target users based on their location data in a three different ways.
Geo-targeting predates mobile and simply refers to the act of reaching someone based on their location. Marketers generally track a web browser’s IP address rather than GPS location. Since the early days of the internet, websites used a visitor’s IP address to serve personalized content. For example a retail site would display the local currency and store locations based on the visitor’s country.
The downside is that IP addresses aren’t very precise, and it’s difficult for marketers to target specific neighborhoods based on IP addresses. Therefore this type of geo-targeting is more commonly used for broad regions, like an entire city or state. For marketing teams that want to go more granular, they can use a system called geo-fencing, as discussed below.
Geo-fencing is the mobile generation’s answer to traditional web-based geo-targeting. This type of targeting uses a smartphone’s precise GPS location rather than its IP address. It’s also updated while the person is on the move, so it’s suited for timely mobile messaging. For instance if a clothing store app detects a user near a physical location it can utilize time limit marketing tactics like offering up a discount coupon to encourage an immediate store visit.
A geo-fence can be as wide as a city, but it’s most effective when targeting smaller regions like specific neighborhoods or streets. These targets are especially useful for apps that want to direct foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores or offer deals at nearby restaurants.
Beacons are the most granular of the three location targeting methods. A beacon is simply a small device that receives location data from nearby devices via a smartphone’s Bluetooth signal. Because it’s Bluetooth-based, beacons can be deployed in areas with poor cell reception, such as the interior of a department store.
Beacon data tells the app precisely where in the store customers are walking, which helps marketers optimize the in-store experience by directing them for example to the new Spring collection based on data gleaned from previous app activity. But the obvious downsides is that the device’s Bluetooth signal must be turned on and has to be within a short distance of the Beacon’s very limited range. What’s more, beacons are difficult to use on public property, since they must be physically placed, secured and monitored.
For mobile teams in search of marketing tactics that increase engagement, geo-fencing is a good place to start. The precision of geo-fenced audiences makes them perfect for mobile campaigns, yet they don’t require a brick-and-mortar presence to be effective.
For example, a travel app might want to alert flyers that their gate changed via push notification. Instead of triggering the notification based on time, the app publisher could establish a geo-fence around an airport and trigger the message based on location instead. This way, they’ll deliver the message with perfect timing.
Likewise, an app that curates local restaurants or events could trigger recommendations based on the user’s neighborhood. Instead of offering broad suggestions (e.g. “Trending restaurants in your city”), geo-fencing enables suggestions that are personal and immediately valuable (e.g. “Welcome to [neighborhood]! Here’s what you need to see”).
Predictive Analytics through the use of artificial intelligence will quietly driving geo-location marketing into the future.
While location-based offers are nothing new, predictive analytics algorithms will mine historical geolocation data and user behavior for marketers to provide just-in-time, localized offers before a user leaves his or her home. For example a retail app will forecast when a user will purchase a certain item based on their in-app browsing and past shopping behavior. Information from these patterns and data can then offer up discounts on the day or hour the user plans to go shopping for a specific product or service.
Geolocation is intuitive from a marketing perspective, but it can be difficult to implement from an engineering standpoint. However, mobile marketers can easily get started by selecting a mobile marketing platform that already supports location-based campaigns.
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As 2016 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on “what worked” with mobile advertising this year and to summarize the successful strategies you should be looking at in 2017.
Here are 5 top tips:
1. Respect the user
Mobile devices are highly personal. Mobile users want to decide where, when and how they interact with brands on their devices. So put the user in control. Mobile ads should be opt-in, so the user decides whether or not to engage with a brand’s message.
Crucially, mobile ads should be easy for users to dismiss, with a prominent ‘close’ box. Finally, if the ad unit covers some content on the page, design the ad so it disappears when a user scrolls and only reappears when the user stops scrolling.
2. Use mobile-friendly ad formats
While they can look fine on tablets, desktop ads don’t look good on small smartphone screens. Instead, use mobile-friendly ad formats such as the IAB Rising Star adhesion unit.
Adhesion units look great on any mobile device because they take up about 10% of the screen and are anchored at the bottom in either portrait or landscape mode. They also produce strong results.
3. Target the right audience
Strong results don’t matter if the wrong audience is responding. The best advertising solutions providers have robust behavioral data that can be targeted as well on mobile as on desktop.
Lookalike models can be built to target scalable audience segments most likely to be receptive to a brand’s message and respond favorably to it.
4. Keep users engaged
Once you’ve targeted the right audience with mobile-first ad formats and the audience is responding to your ad, you want to keep them engaged and spending as much time as possible with your brand’s message.
One great way to keep users engaged is to use video as the main act in the creative. Users increasingly watch video on mobile, with a trend for larger screens.
Showing multiple videos is even more effective. Combine video with interactivity – inviting users to explore a brand further via photo galleries, feature demonstrations, product showcases and maps with directions to the nearest store – and you have the perfect recipe for deep user engagement.
5. Measure the right things
The last thing you want to do with your highly interactive, video-centric mobile campaigns is track results that don’t truly reflect the positive impact on brand metrics and sales lift. For example, it doesn’t make much sense to use clicks as a key performance indicator since clicks have been shown to have little to no correlation with conversions.
On smartphones, in particular, a significant percentage of clicks are accidental. Instead, more advanced metrics such as engagement rate, interaction rate and time spent are much more indicative of users actively paying attention to a brand’s message and ultimately being influenced by it.
After all, it’s deep user engagement that causes consumers to know, love and buy a brand, not a single or series of emails.
Success in brand publishing begins and ends with your audience, which you can define as anyone who comes into contact and engages with your content — not just your target demographic. In brand publishing, the problem you’re solving for is, “Where will incremental audience come from, and how can I maximize its value for my brand?” A combination of technology, partnerships, and experimentation will form the basis of your audience development plan. Here are a few places to start:
1. Social Platforms — The pool of users who have opted to follow you over time make for a great initial surge of audience. Consider paid amplification for the content that yields the greatest value at your desired Cost Per Action (CPA). Think beyond just Facebook and Twitter! LinkedIn is rich in value for B2B engagement, while Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat or any platform utilizing video all merit serious consideration for B2C engagement.
2. Search — Research the keywords that matter most to your target audience and optimize your content.
3. Recommended Media — Mobile platforms can deliver massive audiences from premium publishers in just about every vertical you can think of.
4. Partnerships — Partnering with traditional media publishers can be a great way to deliver audience to your content. Mobile is not a stand alone medium. It still needs traditional media to drive the calls to action.
5. Mobile — This is no longer some strange sub-set of audience. All of the above is responsible for delivering your target audience on mobile