iBeacons, Mobile Marketing and the Meaning of Place

Mobile Ad Spend
Mobile Ad Spend

Geotargeted display advertising will quadruple in the coming years and is driving click-through rates for mobile marketing. But does an era of iBeacons mean we need a new definition of ‘place’?

A new report by eMarketer pinpoints location data as a key driver to mobile display performance:

As mobile budgets swell, brands are eager to find ways to make their ads contextually relevant to consumers. As a result, the use of geotargeted mobile display advertising is on the rise…Facebook (the largest recipient of mobile display ad dollars) enables advertisers to target ads at the country, state, city and ZIP code levels. Twitter’s geotargeting parameters are similarly broad. Yet some mobile ad networks and premium publishers enable brands to zero in on users within a specified radius of GPS coordinates. And other location-based apps and services allow advertisers to target ads to mobile users indoors, such as within a retail store or car dealership.

But in a world of iBeacons, place and location are not the same as proximity. It might seem like a subtle difference, but I’d argue that the marketers who understand the difference can score a bigger win than competing for ad inventory based on geofencing or GPS alone.

The growth in marketing spend for location-aware mobile marketing is evidence that brands are increasingly aware that context matters. But proximity marketing might be the hidden gold that changes the paradigm for what we think of when we think of “where”.

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