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The time is now for location-based ads

News, 22 April 2015

NEW YORK: Marketers finally seem to be latching onto the possibilities of location-based marketing, according to industry figures who expect this to play a more prominent role in mobile advertising in the year ahead.

"The last few years have been about Angry Birds and app downloads, but now the market is finally talking about reaching consumers in particular locations," said Nada Stirratt, recently announced as the new CEO of Verve Mobile, a specialist in this field

"People are going to continue to buy things at a location – more than 90% of commerce is conducted in brick-and-mortar stores," she told Ad Exchanger. "Verve has been evangelising around this for the last ten years, but it's now that the message is really starting to resonate."

Her comments came a week after Foursquare, the location-based search business, announced a new advertising offering called Pinpoint which will enable it to help marketers reach non-users of its app.

By partnering with third-party apps and publishers it aims to get access to consumers' GPS locations, which it can them compare to its own database of places and so add context and build profiles about consumers' real-world behaviours.

"We believe the places you go are the best indication of who you are," Foursquare's chief revenue officer, Steven Rosenblatt, told the Wall Street JournalM. "There's a lot of noise out there about using location data for ad targeting, but we think we can bring quality and accuracy to the market that doesn't exist today."

But Amanda Phillips, head of marketing at Millward Brown, warned that location-based marketing only worked when brands focused on what makes consumers' lives easier or more interesting.

"The power of location-based advertising is not in doubt," she said, relating how a large technology brand had used this method to boost store visits by nearly 100% compared to a control group; and 50% of the exposed respondents had gone on to trial the product in-store.

She told the Guardian that consumers were happy for brands to have location information as long as it was used intelligently to offer them something they wanted and valued.

"The bottom line is that brands that just use this data to support their own interests will simply be ignored," she said.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, Wall Street Journal, Guardian; additional content by Warc staff