Beacons, WiFi, and GPS – Oh My! How Can Location Targeting Help You?

Successful marketing hinges on delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. With BIA/Kelsey predicting that location-targeted mobile ad spend will grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $18.2 billion in 2019, marketers are betting that location targeting holds the key to better performance.

Why is location so important when it comes to mobile marketing?

To nail the right message, right person, right time trifecta, marketers need to understand consumer intent at the moment of message delivery. By knowing where a person is (eg. in the shoe department of store), marketers can better understand that person’s intent (shopping for shoes). For retail use cases, knowing that someone is in a store as opposed to near a store will impact what and how the marketer communicates with that shopper. Since mobile phones are inherently personal devices, consumers’ tolerance for irrelevant marketing and advertising is much lower on mobile than for other channels. With location-based knowledge in hand, marketers can ensure that the messages they send to a shopper’s mobile device are timely and relevant.

What technologies are used in mobile location targeting?

There are a variety of technologies in use today for mobile location targeting, including GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. Each has unique performance capabilities and each has a role to play in marketing at various stages of the customer journey.

General coverage within a block/neighborhood General broadcast coverage within a store Can be configured from <1 m to 70m
Marketing Use
Drive traffic into store Deliver general mobile content (w/out app) or personalized mobile experiences (w/ app) in store Deliver personalized mobile experienced (w/ app) in store/aisle


Smart retailers recognize that combining a variety of location technologies provides a real-time picture of a shopper’s journey that can be used to tailor messages and optimize marketing performance. For example, GPS-based geofences can be used to trigger a drive-to-store campaign for shoppers who are in the neighborhood. The effectiveness of this campaign could be measured by using WiFi access points within the store to verify how many messaged shoppers showed up in-store. Beacon-triggered content could then be delivered in specific areas of the store to round out this location-enabled program.

Mobile technology has forever changed the brick and mortar shopping experience. Shoppers now have access to reviews, product information and pricing at their fingertips whenever and wherever they want… And marketers can now gather incredibly valuable data on consumer intent and individual shopper behaviors that can be used to enhance the relevance of messages that are delivered along the entire path to purchase. With improved relevancy, shoppers are more likely to view mobile messages and content as adding value to their shopping experience -and that’s a win for everyone!

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