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3 New Geo-Targeting Media Strategies That Actually Work

Marketers understand the value of segmenting their audiences, so that when it’s media buying time, they’re able to target only the people most likely to find the message compelling. With the right research in place, geo-targeting, which involves serving messages creative to prospects within certain geographic areas, is one of the most effective ways to segment.

Beyond smart segmentation, though, geotargeting is about context and intent. Media buying is, to a large degree, an exercise in maximizing relevance. If your message doesn’t resonate, you’re just wasting time and money.

Let’s take a look at three relatively new paid media platforms that are changing the way buyers target audience members, allowing marketers to maximize relevance, thanks to the power of context.

3 New Geo-Targeting Media Strategies That Actually Work

#1. GPS Ads

Waze, the popular, Google-owned, crowd-sourced GPS app with traffic incident information, recently rolled out its advertising solution. Waze for Brands combines out-of-home and mobile advertising to create a perfect branding opportunity for companies and a highly useful experience for users.

When people are driving, the businesses around them are at the forefront of their consciousness, making them more receptive to the idea that they should stop in for that cup of coffee.

Brands can choose between four formats for their ads:

  • Branded Pin: The branded pin is a way to remind drivers that your business location is either on or near their route. If they choose to tap your pin, they’ll see the creative, along with more information about the location. If they tap it again, they’ll get driving directions to your location. Actions include “Drive There,” “Save Location,” “Save for Later” and “Call Now.”
  • Takeovers: The zero-speed takeover reveals your creative to your audience when their attention is at its highest – once they have come to a complete stop.
  • Nearby Arrows: These act as a well-positioned signpost, displayed in the first few moments after a user opens the app. It indicates your business is nearby. When the user traps the arrow, it moves the map to the closest pin, then shows more information about your location.
  • Promoted Search: Your business location will be promoted at the top of the search engine results, with your brand’s logo included. When a user taps the search results, your creative, along with more information about your location is revealed. A second tap can initiate driving directions to your location.

Regardless of ad format, the platform’s supported targeting settings make it possible for you to serve your message to people according to powerful contextual parameters:

  • Tourists vs. locals
  • Where they’re driving – home, work, and place type
  • What’s happening – weather, traffic type, route length, and time of day

Google used Waze Ads to increase awareness of their mobile search app in November and December 2015. The campaign’s goal was to announce the new app to more mobile users, educate them about it, and increase download rates. They used the zero-speed takeover ad options, with location relevant ad creative and messaging in seven major cities throughout the USA. The ads were targeted to users who were near famous landmarks or areas. The ad served was a search query related to the landmark and prompted to save for later. Then, they received the answer in their Waze inbox, with a link to download the app.

All in all, the campaign saw more than 13 million impressions, more than 330,000 engagements, and more than 5,000 actions. Ad recall lift compared to a non ad-exposed control group was up to 161%.

#2. Location-Based Entertainment Networks

TV has been on the downward slump for years, both in terms of viewership and demand for ad spots. We’re in the midst of a major shift, towards a more mobile-centric lifestyle, using our smartphones for everything – even video consumption. With video content creation and distribution having been democratized, we may be just as likely to watch a DIY production on YouTube as we are to watch an NBC sitcom.

In a parallel trend, we’re also seeing the rise of services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. As more people cut cable in favor of these affordable on-demand services, the services respond with original series like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Transparent, NS Catastrophe, and cable companies have to fight harder for their customers.

But with a service like Impax Media, it’s now becoming possible to reverse the demise of television, by building a branded, location-based entertainment network. The in-retail video ad screen platform serves up infotainment content to shoppers while they wait at checkout. The infotainment screens shorten perceived wait times among 84% of those surveyed by research firm IPSOS. The screens track attention metrics anonymously, allowing advertisers to correlate performance with various other parameters, including gender, age brackets, time of day, time of week and store location.

Location partners can co-brand screens with Impax and are encouraged to place their own store announcements and content (recipes, weather forecasts) in the rotation with ads. This creates an entertainment experience that helps customers through the most annoying part of shopping experience.

Contextual relevance likewise comes into play here too. When people are at the grocery store, they’re shopping for food – and sometimes they don’t have any ideas for what to make for dinner, but they know it has to be done. That’s why they’re interested in recipes… and if they’re already there shopping anyway, they may as well buy what’s on sale, so they can save a bit of money while they’re at it.

#3. Twitter’s Event Marketing

To reach event participants with promoted tweets, advertisers can combine geo-targeting with hashtag targeting. This is a great way to target conference participants, for instance.

Twitter is a well-known network real-time marketing, and the platform’s new event marketing feature now makes it easier for marketers to inform, simplify, and even automate the process of targeting event attendees and enthusiasts. While reaching people who tweet about the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards, for example, isn’t as specific in focus as manually targeting people who attend a trade show, the contextual implications here are still intriguing.

When people can’t be at an event, the next best thing is to keep tabs on people who are there experiencing it – whether it’s a large national event, or a small regional conference. That’s why people are interested in reading live tweets. And because the event is what they’re interested in, they’re open to hearing about related business opportunities, so they can find ways to become part of the action.

Twitter’s event marketing feature is comprised of three core elements:

  • Calendar: The event calendar highlights major global events across the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, and France. These events are related to sports, music, TV, politics, and holidays. The events can be filtered by type, location, and date.
  • Insights: This section provides historical data on how well past events have performed on Twitter, such as how many people tweeted, the number of people the tweets reached, device usage, and audience demographics. With Insights, marketers can also see the most popular hashtags and keywords, along with tweets that got the most engagement, so they can use the information about what has worked well in the past to develop an effective campaign for an upcoming event.
  • Activation: This section allows marketers to launch their campaigns targeting events with a single click. It’s possible to combine it with other ad targeting features, such as device, gender, and language, making it easier to target (and hopefully convert) the people you know you need to reach the most.

Geotargeting allows you to focus your efforts on getting people’s attention based on where they are and what they’re doing. But simply relying on zip codes won’t get the job done. As we see with Waze, Impax, and Twitter, there are better, more efficient and effective ways to reach your targets.

Featured Image Credit: Adobe Stock


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Lucinda Watrous is a freelance writer and WordPress design guru. Though the bulk of her experience lies in online business, social media and general geekery, she's also a self-proclaimed foodie who enjoys health and wellness. http://lucindawatrous.com

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