GeoMinds: The Best Use Of Geo-Data Is To Improve The Mobile Consumer Experience
Ad blocking seemed to be the dominant topic of conversation — on panels and off — this past week at Advertising Week. We have heard all about the end of advertising as we know it as stats pour in talking about the scores of consumers that are downloading ad blocking technologies and publishers whose bottom lines will inevitably shrink, but I venture to say this: This is only the beginning of the new day in advertising. Instead of viewing ad blocking as detrimental, I believe that it will improve our ad industry and will further propel mobile into the spotlight as an integral part of any media plan. Ad blocking will force advertisers to create seamless, native experiences that will not disrupt the consumer experience but rather enhance it.
As I always say, the key to a successful engagement strategy is to make the advertising relevant. The proliferation of ad blocking technology causes the industry to re-evaluate types of ads, ad formats, and ad experiences on both desktop and mobile. We need to make more relevant and engaging ads, and, in doing so, we will then eradicate any industry distrust of ad blocking. Mobile advertising has an edge over other channels in the race to improve the ad experience given its treasure trove of geo-data.
Despite all of the industry debate over the accuracy of geo-data and the need to further inform the public of how this data is collected and utilized, geo-data is key to making advertising relevant and, when employed correctly, can improve the overall consumer experience, linking the online to offline. In mobile, we are able to reach the consumer at all points on the consumer journey as they research a product in their home up through the point of entry at the store.
By catering the ad’s message based on where consumers are — and what state of mind they are in — we are creating relevancy. Improving the overall customer experience is the best application of geo-data as it allows brands to connect with consumers and guide them along the path to purchase, set expectations for the in-store experience, and, as a result, boost loyalty.
As with all good things, geo-data needs to be applied responsibly. An all too familiar misuse of geo-data is the overuse of push notifications. Nothing turns me off of a brand more than persistent text notifications that are not relevant to what I need and my state of mind. Two brands that do an exemplary job of incorporating geo-data into their user experience are Starbucks and Finish Line, the shoe company headquartered in Indiana. Both utilize geo-data via their mobile applications to improve the overall consumer experience by seamlessly connecting with their customers and personalizing the experience based on their location.
So as another Advertising Week comes to a close and we head into the 4th quarter, my hope is that we, as an industry, will begin to have more conversations about how ad blocking is helping to reshape industry standards and how tools, such as geo-data, are vital to achieving our most important industry goal of creating valuable consumer experiences.
*Lara Mehanna is GM US, VP Sales & Business Development of SONATA, the first global mobile advertising platform focused on connecting online advertising to offline results. Previous to SONATA, she spent 2.5 years as General Manager of Mobile at DataXu where she was involved in building out omni-channel solutions and the Company’s mobile go-to-market strategy. Prior to DataXu, Lara spent almost four years leading mobile market development for Jumptap (acquired by Millenial Media), helping to build the mobile ad network and managing network and publisher relationships. Lara started her career in search and digital marketing, running the global search product/business team at AOL. Lara also started and is co-head of the local Women in Wireless chapter in the NYC tri-state area where she has successfully built an organization of volunteers that support, empower, and mentor women in the mobile and digital industry, created a giving back initiative to further assist women in need, and built a fundraising program that has enabled multiple events per year attended by many in the mobile and digital industry.
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