Advertising adopts a bespoke approach when targeting audiences thanks to localisation
When looking at the advertising industry of the 21st century, it’s fair to say that things have moved on from the days of mass, seemingly indiscriminate campaigns targeting everybody and nobody in particular. The lack of personalisation ubiquitous in days gone by severely stunted the advertising industry, with consumers left feeling confused, abandoned and ignored. Of course, modern marketing practices have helped to fine-tune when, where and how publicity campaigns are deployed according to time, place and context, with the digital era offering scope for further clarification when defining, segmenting and identifying potential or current client bases. But how far can we be said to have explored localisation’s possibilities when seeking to offer the right service to the right consumer at the right moment?
Advertising gets subtle with the help of localisation
Modern advertising has tended to evolve towards an emphasis on a minimum ROI (i.e. stronger commercial/marketing impacts via a more clearly defined customer base). With this in mind, let’s examine how localisation can play a key role in advertising for the digital age:
- The customer’s preferred or usual location/s for shopping, socialising, and other services: thanks to localisation, opportunities are created whereby customers are informed about ‘coming soon’ events or openings – e.g. the arrival of business and services likely to interest them in their local area (region, city, neighborhood). Always happy to be in the know, the customer is particularly likely to appreciate receiving this potentially helpful information in advance..
- The customer on the move: Localisation can also play a role in helping to target customers visiting other cities or regions, whether these visits are regular, occasional or infrequent. If the consumer’s device is connected and the consumer has authorised localisation data sharing, their current physical location (e.g. London) will be displayed. It then becomes necessary to prioritise local or regional promotions or offers to avoid inundating the user with repetitive and, in some cases, redundant advertising messages. It goes without saying that the customer will be particularly receptive to targeted ads that reflect their current location. Once the customer has returned to their home city or region, their coordinates will be automatically updated and their corresponding ad preferences modified.
As an example, social media giant Facebook has wasted no time adapting localisation to its advertising needs with the launch of its “Local Awareness” feature, which helps to localise a prospective consumer base physically close to points of sale.
Localisation thus allows advertisers to offer consumers promotions, special offers and publicity information appropriate to their permanent or temporary location. In line with the individual customer’s needs, advertising linked to localisation becomes ever more pertinent as a result of this constant adaptability.
The future of effective advertising with localisation
While the benefits of adopting a localised approach to advertising may seem obvious in theory, let’s take a closer look at the impact combining these two elements is likely to have on a given business strategy.
The good news: according to a 2015 Mobile Marketing Consumer Report study, 64% of French mobile phone users said that their device helped them find the point of sale closest to them where a particular item was in stock. The report also found that 50% of people surveyed agreed that localisation was useful when looking for offers, promotions or deals close to them. However, a 2013 Connected Shopper study reported that only 40% of shoppers were happy to receive an ad, even if it had been tailored for their needs. To conclude, businesses failing to take advantage of a consumer’s physical location when offering adverts or promotions are likely to be missing out on additional sales, meaning that it’s up to advertising to redefine its key strategies in order to take advantage of consumer attitudes towards localisation.
Actors effectively utilising localisation data are thus in a position to adopt or refine certain predictive marketing approaches, with a view to developing an effective publicity strategy capable of realizing its full potential.
- Target consumers based on their most recently declared location: this informs the customer of relevant offers, based on their current location and reflective of their presumed or expected needs (according to stock availability). For example, a customer based in Birmingham looking to buy a new washing machine may receive an ad indicating the location of the nearest Currys store with the desired model in stock. Should the same customer visit London for a weekend, the date and time of their visit would suggest that adverts or promotions relating to attractions or museums are likely to be more appreciated. If the visit were to take place mid-week, a promotional message relating to a new restaurant or hotel may be more appropriate. The customer’s mobility should be above all an opportunity to renew the consumer’s relationship with the brand. This becomes even more crucial in the case of businesses with a large national or even international presence, such actors being in a better position to offer consumers promotions based on the region, city or even neighborhood where they are located.
- Acknowledge consumer’s planned or imagined travel plans by featuring promotional information relevant to their envisaged destination (information based on recent searches)
- Make mobile notifications a clear priority; that is, remain close to the consumer by discreetly and effortlessly offering information aimed at making their lives easier, much like a life coach or personal trainer. Last-minute offers within a specific radius local to the consumer becomes much more effective when addressed on a first-come, first-served basis.
In order to maintain a constant link with the consumer without becoming intrusive or insistent, it is imperative that the advertising industry is in a position to respond to innovations linked with localisation. The challenges faced by the sector’s leading actors can be summed up as follows: identify where the customer was yesterday, find out where they are today and predict where they will be tomorrow, before adapting this information to reflect current stock levels or availability at the nearest points of sale to the consumer. The result? Communication that’s more precise, more targeted and ultimately more effective.