Let’s talk programmatic: xAd’s Dan Hight gets local – on the power of location-based marketing

Let’s talk programmatic: xAd’s Dan Hight gets local – on the power of location-based marketing

Dan Hight is the head of platform at xAd, Inc., a global programmatic exchange that specializes in location-based targeting. Hight shares his thoughts on why location-based targeting should be its own category of advertising, no longer sharing the limelight with SEO or social media.

PA.O: Why should location be its own search category – differentiated from other digital marketing tactics like SEO, social media and mobile?

DanHight: The opportunity in mobile is big; we believe that the opportunity for location is even bigger.

For years, marketers have spoken to local audiences. However, with mobile, the local audience is even more granular. Now, you reach customers for a specific location beyond the local market level.

Through scale and technology, marketers can finally speak to that hyperlocal audience in a personalized and impactful way.

Location has evolved beyond “marketing in the moment” to now enabling marketers to create specific audience segments based on actual behaviors, reach audiences in the most relevant context, and measure campaign effectiveness.

eMarketer predicted that within a year, mobile will account for the majority of digital ad spending and become a $100 billion business in 2016. As mobile has grown, so has the power of location.

BIA Kelsey estimates that over 40 percent of mobile advertising spend will be in location by 2019.  

Search evolved into a category with the advent of Internet marketing and performance tracking from cookies. Location will evolve as a category as advertising goes mobile, bringing the power of online analytics to the real world.

PA.O: How does the “location” category impact ad attribution?

Dan Hight: No other form of media has had a more powerful impact on both digital and offline commerce than mobile.

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that over 90 percent of commerce activities occur offline. While marketers relied on the cookie to provide visibility for online measurement and attribution online, there hasn’t been an offline equivalent.

Location unlocks visibility into how to drive and measure offline behavior.

Location is used to see the mobility of users. Therefore, measurement needs to be mobile-first to take advantage of the insights provided on the device.

xAd is at the forefront of mobile measurement. We commissioned Nielsen to design a study to help understand what factors impact mobile ad effectiveness and determine the most appropriate ways to measure campaign success.

Looking across 12 major brands and nearly 80 individual ad campaigns, Nielsen and xAd assessed multiple approaches to attribution, including click-through rate (CTR), secondary actions that occur following the initial ad click, and lift in store visitation after ad exposure.

The findings provided the first industry benchmarks for marketers across the three measurements and three verticals.

PA.O: What are some of the strategies that work in location targeting? What are some strategies that don’t?

Dan Hight: We worked with Nielsen to conduct extensive research about how location-based proximity targeting and creative messaging affect advertising campaign outcomes.

Overall, the biggest takeaway from our research is variance – there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for success. Results can and should vary based on your business categories and the goals and tactics in place.

Tactics that have not been successful are simply taking desktop strategies and shrinking them to a smaller screen for mobile.  Mobile is very personal and uniquely centered upon location context. Marketers need to consider the personal nature of mobile devices to add value to the consumer’s experience.

The findings in the “Campaign Design for Driving In-Store Visits” report outlines some of the best ways to design a mobile advertising campaign.

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