Multi-channel marketers have applied localized online marketing strategies to drive in-store sales and traffic for years. Cabela’s won the 2009 ad:tech award for best performance marketing campaign with an innovative paid search engine marketing coupon program that converted 10% of all clicks into coupon retrievals, 40% of which were redeemed in-store.
In this example and many others, local searchers become local shoppers, and the rise of mobile ensures this dynamic will continue trending upward. As a result, search becomes increasingly geo-targeted, with the engines catering to user behavior and demand. Consider these findings:
• 37% of customers who searched for a local business in ’09 ended up visiting the store in person (TMP & comScore, October 2009)
• Local search currently represents half of all mobile search ad revenue (Kelsey Group, September 2009)
• Younger generations embrace mobile in staggering numbers; 97 million 5-29 year-olds in the U.S., 281 million in India and 255 million in China currently have mobile accounts (The Mobile Youth Report, 2010)
Search teams should be sure to capitalize on these online-to-offline strategies to capture local visibility and in-store traffic:
• Ensure paid and natural search engine visibility of local retail and reseller locations
• Employ social and display marketing opportunities that allow brands to geo-target consumers
• Acknowledge the growth of mobile and tailor efforts to mobile search
Consumer micro-targeting strategies drive new efficiencies
Localized micro-targeting is a way for multi-channel marketers to use online media to cost-effectively boost in-store traffic.
For example, marketers can use tightly defined geographic areas to discriminate paid search bid strategies based on consumer location to physical stores. Because consumers who live closer to a store location are more likely to visit the store to shop, marketers can bid more aggressively to engage these consumers. Thus, paid search budgets are directed at the consumer who is most likely to buy, driving ROI.
Also consider the concept of segmenting offers according to a consumer’s proximity to a brick and mortar location. For consumers located near a retail storefront, marketers may wish to promote in-store specials, but what about those more than 30 or 50 miles away from a store? Free shipping probably makes more sense. An even more sophisticated approach might involve delivering the most aggressive offers to consumers who may be located far from your store but closer to a competitor’s retail shop.
Social media can also drive online and offline sales using consumer location to micro-target compelling ads to perfect prospects. For instance, Facebook social ads can be targeted based on where a consumer lives. In display, where localized micro-targeting is still in its infancy, some progressive ad exchanges are working diligently to increase the availability of geo-targeted opportunities that can be purchased at scale.
Each localized micro-targeting innovation provides marketers with access to another performance-based opportunity and more chances to pay for results instead of media. Combining location-based strategies only brings greater efficiencies into this already accountable discipline.
Exciting applications on the horizon
Localized micro-targeting has quickly proven itself as a powerhouse strategy for boosting marketing results while reigning in costs. Soon enough, mobile consumers will be using their phones en masse to scan barcodes and find competing prices. Google Goggles will soon bring phone photo searching to the masses through its Droid phones.
No matter where innovation take us next, marketers can rest assured that incorporating location-based micro-targeting strategies and catering to the increasingly mobile and localized search will pay big dividends for many years to come.
Michael Kahn (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior vice president of client services at Performics and a monthly contributor to Chief Marketer.