Zoom Out: Go Beyond Hyper-Local

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laurenmoores"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Lauren Moores, vice president of analytics at Dstillery.

We’ve all heard the hype about hyperlocal marketing. This kind of mobile targeting allows brands to reach consumers on mobile devices and send messages while they are in and around a company’s store. Starbucks, for instance, can send a message to customers while they are in or around a specific Starbucks location.

While this is a pretty cool party trick, the potential of mobile does not, and should not, stop there. The problem with focusing on hyperlocal targeting is that it obscures the real strategic potential that comes from massive consumer mobile adoption. There are much more exciting ways for marketers to harness the power of mobile.

We all know that consumers are addicted to their smartphones. Reports show that 91% of adults have a mobile phone within arm’s reach around the clock. Smartphone owners look at their phones 150 times a day. These activities leave signals of behavior, allowing marketers to learn a lot about consumers from their mobile journeys, with benefits way beyond local targeting.

While it may be interesting for Starbucks to coax people to come in to the store and accept a special offer, there is potentially more value in recognizing frequent visitors. Imagine Starbucks seeing the same device in four of their stores in four different cities in the last 30 days. The owner is probably a business traveler and should be targeted as such. That person warrants a different strategy than the person who visits the same location every day. In addition, the airlines and car rental companies would surely be interested in this traveler audience segment.

With smartphone users looking at their devices anywhere and everywhere — including on planes (more than 80%), in front of the TV (86%) and even on the toilet (75%) — mobile data is as big as anything marketers have been able to extract from the Web. The rise of mobile is game-changing, as it provides a new window into consumers’ physical journeys, of which the Web could only scratch the surface. Mobile allows brands to look beyond pure digital behavior and capture a very interesting 360-degree view of the consumer in the real world.

This digital meets real-world data, giving marketers intelligence that can be used to deliver marketing messages appropriately across any device, whether the customer is at home, at work or on the go.

In the desktop world, we have used cookies to associate various consumer actions in an effort to understand a consumer’s brand affinities. Capturing these actions has yielded both behavioral segments and lookalike models. Now, the potential for marketers to capture physical signals is huge. Going beyond the obvious retargeting opportunities, marketers can now predict brand affinities using an awesome array of data that goes way beyond media consumption. This new potential allows digital advertising to finally enter the big leagues of marketing: building brand value.

By focusing too much on hyperlocal marketing to mobile users, marketers miss out on the rich data that consumers share when they are mobile. Using these broadened insights, marketers can create targeted campaigns that drive actions based on the kinds of behaviors in these very different environments. Marketers that take the bigger picture approach are poised to tap into deeper insights and a richer view of consumers.

Follow Lauren Moores (@lolomoo), Dstillery (@dstillery) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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