Following up on yesterday’s post from Cristina Pansolini, we’ve got some more great insights coming out of Digiday’s Local conference here in NYC last week. Today, Strategic Planner Charles Lodge offers his take on the synergy between local and mobile, and what it all means for the industry.
Local marketing has shifted from traditional channels into digital channels that offer powerful solutions for brands to reach local consumers. Mobile, social and other local digital advertising technologies and platforms are quickly becoming a must, and brands are seeking higher ROI and one-on-one connections with consumers. As technology moves off your desk and into your pocket, social and local media are giving advertisers the opportunity to enhance a “clicks to bricks” model with localized calls to action. By combining behavioral and geographic tracking, communication is becoming localized down to the city block, driving real foot traffic to real brick and mortar stores. However, with this change in communication venues we’re also seeing a change in the rules of advertising; social and local media is about giving people knowledge, not a compelling argument.
LOCAL AND MOBILE GO HAND-IN-HAND
Local advertising, by definition, is opening a golf magazine and seeing ads for golf equipment. But these days we can deliver content relevant not just to a publication or network demo, but to location, activity, interests and even mindset. This progression of media into local atmospheres is directly in line with the appearance of new mobile technology, and “local” and “mobile” absolutely go hand in hand.
In 2003 brands were asking their agencies to help them have a greater digital presence. In 2007 they were all trying to connect with consumers in various online social spaces. This year they’re striving to connect with their consumers on a local level. In the recent past there were generally two ways to find your target consumer’s location — a computer’s IP address or a mobile device’s GPS locator. That’s not the case anymore. The rise in mobile coordinate-based services, such as GoogleMaps, gives context to location-based searches, adding a third means of specializing your targeted content.
GoogleMaps has become the pillar of Google’s local strategy; regular users use it an average of 25 times a month . . . literally telling advertisers where they are and where they’re going. And now, pairing Google with a GPS device, allows users to search by a destination (IE: “Saatchi & Saatchi”) instead of an address (IE: “375 Hudson St”) which is both user-friendly and creates an opportunity for advertisers to know not just where their consumers are . . . but what they’re doing while they’re there. This flood of location data is a valuable tool for advertisers; while we have always known that our communication will reach someone, we have seldom had any guarantee that our ads will be relevant to the viewer. With more surgical installations of communication we are expected to produce better returns on investment, and contextual targeting can ensure that the media space we buy will match up with the target demographic.
LOCAL CALLS TO ACTION
The recent growing demand for “deals near me” has gone hyper-local in the daily deal ecosystem (Groupon, LivingSocial, etc.). 51% of consumers say they are willing to share their location in order to be exposed to ads relevant to their position. The CTA surrounding all of local media placement is providing consumers with real-time information about deals in stores near their current location.
And we’re finding that if you can get location specific you get real results—deals near me offerings have better than a fifty percent buy rate. While the next step may be a digital overhaul of the Sunday circular, right now the best way to get a good ROI out of local media strategies is to connect consumers with local discounts that are actually local—not deals in their county, but on their street.
SHRINKING YOUR WAY TO GREATNESS: BIG RETAILERS ARE PLAYING SMALL BALL
Online video content is becoming a more reliable and effective way to communicate with your target consumers and a recent trend of localizing online content has proved efficient at generating specialized messages and increased returns. Schwinn and Lowe’s have both learned how a national campaign can hit local parameters, embracing strategies aimed at giving extra incentive—depending on location—for consumer-action.
Schwinn has over 6000 different spots in rotation, and each gets neighborhood-specific, using various calls to action within their creative, such as referencing the particularly high gas prices of one town, or the bike-friendly nature of another town’s streets. Lowe’s, on the other hand, uses local factors like the weather to determine what sort of spots to run in a location. If it is raining out, Lowe’s will play a spot about what great deals they have on interior home design materials. If it’s sunny, they’ll talk about deals on exterior paint and lawnmowers. With the examples we saw at DigiDay, only the voiceover was specific to each spot, exemplifying the elasticity of a national message, portrayed on a very local scale.
Lastly, and this is probably the best part, part of the model of this form of advertising includes the ability to test the effectiveness—beyond click-through rate—of these personalized spots versus traditional TV buys.
AND IN CLOSING
We “check-in” or “allow” nearly every day of our lives—some more than once a day—and advertisers and marketers stand to gain both a huge return on their investments and great insight into the way consumers move, shop and communicate with brands and each other. While any business stands to increase profits by creating local buying-incentives, the learning we stand to acquire during this time creates huge potential for the streamlining of future brand strategy.
The “big idea” of localized media is to drive foot traffic into real stores, but we are responsible for the lifeblood of our brands and we have the creative license to designate what our brands do for consumers. If we can take what we learn from contextual targeting and plant that within a national brand’s strategic direction, not only our media buys, but also the gravity of our communication will benefit greatly.