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Location based advertising is nothing new. The billboards we see every day evolved from local business owners putting up signs near the location of their shops. They delivered simple messages, they reached the ideal consumers, and this location-oriented approach has been in practice for roughly two centuries.
Modern location technology allows advertisements to be far more relevant and targeted, raising the chances of getting the right message to the right person. Below, three ways it can be done.
The digital display has obliterated the old static billboard. Today’s digital advertisements in public spaces can change in the blink of an eye. But their potential impact really blooms when you mix in location intelligence.
Consider all the digital screens in an airport. Looking at historical movement data from cameras alone; a marketing scientist can develop a model for how fast people pass through the terminals of an airport. If that scientist is truly talented, they can understand how fast or slow passengers move based on the time of day, the traffic in the airport, and where people are coming from.
Armed with that data model, the digital signage in the airport could transform to specifically address the people most likely walking by at that exact moment. Powered with location models, the digital billboards could suddenly gain subtitles in Hiragana when it’s more likely that passengers arriving from Tokyo are passing by. Later, those subtitles could switch to French shortly after a flight arrives from Paris. It’s location-enabled, reaches ideal consumers, and completely private.
Geofencing has been in place for some time. In practice, you might have an application on your phone that is connected to a franchise. That franchise can define a geofence around their location, or even one of their competitors. When the app on your phone connects inside that geofence, you’re served a sale incentive to visit that store.
In the future, geofencing will still be in use, but data will evolve simple proximity alerts into hyper-relevant, targeted messages. Imagine walking into your favorite store on the first cold day of the season. The store application on your phone knows the bulk of your shopping history, knows the weather outside, and might even know your habits of when you’re browsing versus when you’re buying. Next thing you know, you’re given a discount on a fall jacket that goes perfectly with the shirt you bought last month. Your size is in stock. It’s on the second floor in the back.
The previous case uses personal information that consumers agree to share. In the future, a much more advanced exchange of user data being traded for value and services may exist. When that day comes, we can expect an intelligent, location-driven night out.
It will start when you arrive at the movie theater. The multiplex app knows when you’ve arrived outside, so it pre-orders a large popcorn and two small sodas for you and your date. Because the app also knows what movie you’re seeing, your concessions are waiting for you as you enter your theater.
At the end of the movie, your phone knows you stayed for the credits, so it provides an offer to buy tickets to a movie by the same director coming out in a few months. Your phone also knows you have dinner reservations in an hour and a half. There are plenty of ways to get there, but your phone knows historically that you prefer to take a cab to dinner when you’re on a date.
Outside, when you’re close to your cab, LEDs light up indicating you’ve found the car your phone summoned. The seat-back screen syncs with your online retailer browsing history, and shows you the shoes you’ve been stalking online. There’s a retailer just 2 blocks from your dinner reservation that will give you a discount if you stop by tonight. If you hit ‘yes’, they’ll be waiting for you as your driver’s route is updated so all you have to do is drive by… You get the idea.
That scenario is not far in the future. The basic techniques are already being put to work, but what remains is to put them all together into a single collaborative system. In the meantime, be sure to get to the theater early to buy popcorn.