Mobile devices are our own personal Sherpas — or, as Woz said in his popular keynote, “your most trusted advisor in the world.”
Marketers are soaking up real-time info based on our location-based needs so they can reach relevant consumers’ hands whenever and wherever — ideally in the Last Mile of the purchase cycle. This is the message I addressed at the Local Search Association (LSA) Annual Conference (#LSA14) two weeks ago, and the theme came through in a number of valuable sessions.
More And More Mobile
comScore’s executive chairman and co-founder, Gian Fulgoni, discussed the changing path to purchase and presented data showing that consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices than PCs and are accessing a broader variety of local content via mobile.
Fulgoni said that rather than a straight line path to purchase funnel, there is a more diversified purchase flight map (think air traffic controller), in which there are many different media channels and platform paths that consumers can use before moving forward with a purchase (likely a local, in-store purchase).
This proliferation of the multi-platform or multi-screen path to purchase is amplifying the mobile local phenomenon, where marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach consumers in the final stretch, or “Last Mile,” of their seek-discover-consider-act path to purchase.
Keynotes from Google and Bing also addressed the power of mobile local. In fact, the LSA announced new board members from Google, Microsoft, and Starcom MediaVest Group, all of whom have been integral to shaping today’s local advertising market.
Targeting By Geographical History
In the association’s inaugural Ad to Action Awards, ThinkNear, a location-based mobile ad company, was awarded the Mobile Ad to Action award for its GeoCookie, which enables both mobile retargeting based on where the device has been in the past, as well as behavioral targeting based on location and movement patterns.
For example, advertisers could use the GeoCookie to identify a device in an airport, or similar locations in the recent past, to determine whether a consumer is a frequent business traveler. GeoCookie enables location-specific targeting with a unique granular segmentation — all part of harnessing the intersection of local and mobile and getting visibility into the consumer purchase flight map.
The multiple paths to purchase, however, are also increasing campaign and attribution complexity, with offline measurement being a key ad performance metric for mobile local marketers. Tying offline activities such as calls and in-store visits to online and mobile campaigns is crucial to developing a complete attribution model.
The Vertical Advantage
While the mobile local movement is applicable to all vertical markets, there are benefits to tailoring the local mobile experience for a specific vertical or category (e.g., lawyers, salons, home improvement, etc). This was the topic of discussion on the panel The Advantages of Being Vertical, with the premise being that each vertical has a distinct local and mobile buying pattern.
There are also vertical implications for attribution. Determining what consumer engagement points matter most can vary based on the category. We find this in call measurement, as well. Consumer call patterns and needs and the respective metrics are different across categories. Pizza delivery, tax preparation and pest control are all very different.
The resounding takeaway from the conference was clear: As mobile consumption continues to fragment across screens, devices and categories, the local-mobile opportunity will continue to grow. Now, it is up to marketers to harness the opportunity afforded through powerful new technologies and partners to reinforce their targeting, messaging and measurement.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.