A new location-based marketing strategy

Location, location, location! The old adage about real estate is now more true than ever for mobile advertising—the fastest growing segment in media. For years, marketers have sought to leverage the inherent location insights that mobile devices provide. The rapid growth of location-aware, programmatic mobile inventory has empowered brands to deliver location relevant information to their consumers at scale. Direct marketers are perhaps the best able to leverage device location to drive consumer action in the real world.

The mobile experience has evolved into the primary touch point for consumers on the go. Consumers pick up and unlock their smartphones nearly 100 times each day. And they are greeted by what? Either the home screen—basically a file folder of static icons, or the last screen—the last application that they were using before the device went idle. Research demonstrates that over half of the time, that initial experience delivers little value to the mobile user who is looking for something, anything, more engaging. As the mobile experience increasingly dominates user media consumption, wireless carriers are taking notice and are eager to participate in the monetization opportunity. This drive by wireless carriers will unlock new media opportunities for direct marketers. Mobile carriers are actively creating a new user experience and hence new media opportunity. This new real estate is best known as the “First Screen.”

Instead of the home screen or last screen, wireless carriers are distributing mobile apps that present premium engaging content on the First Screen. Wireless subscribers are delighted to discover rich, engaging content presented to them immediately after device unlock in lieu of the static, legacy experience to which so many of us have become accustomed.

Sleepwalking through content

The pattern of consumers aimlessly digesting content is nothing new. Marketers have long faced the challenge of developing ad formats and creatives that engage the consumer, whether they are flipping through a magazine, or surfing through dozens of television channels in rapid succession. This behavior is more prevalent than ever in the smartphone environment. Consumers acknowledge that most of the time, they unlock their device with no specific purpose in mind.

FaceBook and YouTube have reaped tremendous benefit from this behavior. As consumers navigate through their smartphones looking for something of interest, these two destinations have become the default choice. First Screen content discovery offers a new, and powerful opportunity for marketers, while satisfying the dominant user desire on mobile, namely, something to do on mobile.

First Screen content intersects the user journey immediately after they unlock their device, capturing those moments when the user is most likely to engage. Opted-in subscribers choose their content experience and it is presented to them, ready and waiting after they unlock their device

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. And of course, content enables advertising in the natural value exchange which mobile subscribers have come to understand. Perhaps most impactful, these First Screen moments are characterized by the user’s desire for engagement rather than interrupting a task. First Screen content turns mobile somnambulists into active consumers of content and advertising—an ideal candidate for direct marketing initiatives.

A better First Screen solution presents a win-win for consumers and marketers. Consumers embrace First Screen content and marketers access a diverse audience of engaged users. Look for this media category to grow rapidly, because wireless carriers are big winners as well, who can now participate in the mobile advertising value exchange that has been dominated by Facebook and Google. Millions of mobile users in the U.S. already enjoy First Screen content today, generating billions of pageviews each month. Multiple U.S. wireless carriers are actively gearing up to launch First Screen content for their subscribers before the end of the year, and thereby, actively participate in the mobile advertising ecosystem at serious scale.

Yes, mobile location has become a key variable in the value proposition of mobile advertising. Mobile subscribers readily exchange that data for location-based content. But for sophisticated marketers, location represents just one of many decision variables. The real challenge remains the same, engaging consumers when they are otherwise sleepwalking past your message. First Screen inventory reaches consumers when they are most likely to engage. As millions more mobile subscribers wake up to First Screen content this year, direct marketers have a golden opportunity leverage location-based targeting in a new, highly impactful media experience.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Lloydmedia, Inc is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and is a multi-platform media company which delivers a total audience of more than 100,000 readers across four national magazines, three industry directories, and a range of events and online marketing.