Contextual advertising only works once you factor in location

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Contextual advertising only really works once you factor in user location
Ben Tatton-Brown

Contextual advertising only really works once you factor in user location

Just as the birth of TV advertising facilitated the entry of brands into the living room, smartphones now provide a conduit for those same brands to literally get into the hands of billions of consumers all over the world.

Location will increasingly become the key factor in this evolution in 2016 and beyond. Turning advertising into smart, brand messaging platforms through the contextual understanding of users’ real-world lives, is the unique value proposition that pioneers in mobile location-aware DSPs like Blis, offer.

Location data has become ever more important because mobile is the platform that brands are increasingly turning to in order to drive consumer engagement. Research published by Blis last September found that 43 percent of UK consumers have clicked on a mobile advert, and we know that figure is only going to increase as people use more and different connected devices.

Location influences engagement

We looked closely at this relationship between location data and advertising by speaking to a wide cross-section of nationally represented UK consumers. By looking at how consumers use different connected devices, and how usage patterns change depending on their location, we can see the role location plays when engaging with advertising.

39 percent of consumers we spoke to said they were more likely to click on ads which took their location into account – showing just how important location is to creating relevant and contextually aware advertising. And at least 14 percent of the UK population is engaging with a brand as a direct result of location-based advertising over mobile devices.

That’s more than nine million consumers in the UK alone!

This contextual relevance is one of the elements that distinguishes mobile from other mediums. But it is the overall influence of location that truly separates mobile from all other channels in terms of how it informs our understanding of cross-device behaviour.

Buying audiences programmatically with behavioural location data

These insights are especially important when you consider the inexorable rise of programmatic advertising, which is forecast to take a £2 billion slice of UK advertising spend this year. Location is absolutely crucial to programmatic, as understanding consumers’ location is essential to understanding the context of when, where and how they will view an advert. And as we know, the better the contextual relevancy, the more likely a consumer is to engage.

The growth in programmatic is most striking on mobile, where eMarketer predicts that 75 percent of all advertising will be delivered programmatically by the end of 2016, with more than half the entire spend on programmatic display ads going on mobile devices.

Of course, existing programmatic advertising can already serve different ad campaigns to people depending on their device and location. But despite the wealth of different parameters and targeting options the rise of programmatic technology has given us, understanding the context behind people’s behaviour continues to be the missing piece of the puzzle.

Whilst programmatic technology has meant that the right creative can be matched to a particular app or web page and formatted for a specific device in milliseconds, this is a very binary process.

What makes it intelligent is building a bigger picture, using as much data as possible, and importantly, interpreting that data in the right way.

For example, it’s simple to serve an advert for a new car to a consumer based on a rough demographic profile, or because they may have clicked on a previous banner or keyed in a search term. But what if you could establish a customer’s Experian profile from their home ISP and then cross- reference that with the fact that they recently visited a BMW showroom and are a regular user of the Autotrader app?

Data soup

All these signals combine with other data to create a much richer understanding of a consumer’s motivations and habits, and a better understanding of how location will be the key factor in building this contextual picture.

Piece together enough data, and it can even become a powerful predictor of future behaviour. That’s why research firm Berg Insight sees location-aware advertising being one of the fastest growing areas, making up 39 percent of mobile advertising spend and 7 percent of all digital media spend by 2018.

Programmatic technology has also opened the door to creating campaigns that ‘understand’ that we are using more than one device every day, and that this usage is directly affected by our location. Our research found that whilst almost one-fifth of all smartphone-originated transactions took place whilst at home, 59 percent of these started on a mobile but were completed on another device. It has become more important than ever for advertisers to reach their target audience on multiple mobile devices, at home or at work, on the move and in real-world locations.

Two years from now more than half of Britons will own an iPad, Kindle Fire or similar tablet device – that’s on top of the 72 percent of the UK population who already own a smartphone. Beyond that, out of home (OOH) locations such as bus stops and tube station advertising are becoming connected and part of the programmatic landscape. An understanding of how individuals interact and experience advertising based on location, frequency, relevance and other behavioural queues, will become part of the digital advertising fabric. And by cross-referencing a consumer’s physical location with demographic data and browsing habits, advertisers can build a complex contextualised pictured that ultimately helps create clear signals of buying intent.

As programmatic platforms evolve they will enable personalised advertising experiences which will draw these insights together and automatically tailor the creative to the device, location and context. This will allow brands to create live, reactive campaigns that engage consumers in ‘mobile moments’ – ways that are far more like brand conversations than the interruption that so much advertising today still feels like.

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Ben Tatton-Brown is COO of Blis. He is a proven digital media executive and acclaimed entrepreneur with over 20 years experience across ad-tech, media and agency business. Ben co-founded and sold award winning mobile ad agency RingRing Media to ad-tech specialist Amobee and was part of the exec team that sold Amobee to SingTel for $321m in 2012.
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Partner Spotlight: Q&A with RSi’s Ansa

Question 1: How long have you been at RSi and what is your role?
For the past three years, I have been responsible for creating and scaling Ansa, a web-based solution from RSi – Retail Solutions, Inc., that has enabled over 75 of the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies to build, measure and maximize the performance of their shopper marketing campaigns running in support of the nation’s leading retailers. I am responsible for all aspects of business development, partner and agency relationships and the overall revenue growth of Ansa.

Question 2: How does RSi help solve marketer challenges?
Shopper marketers’ biggest challenge is to connect their online campaigns to in-store results. RSi’s Ansa solution provides the intelligence they need, based on daily, store-level POS-data from the largest US retailers in order to plan, target, and measure the impact of their shopper marketing campaigns. Retail Solutions Inc. has partnered with the leading ad networks in Shopper Marketing, such as Blis, to make Ansa’s automated analytics available for the world’s largest CPG companies and their agencies. To measure and maximize their digital ad campaigns, all they need to do is ask for Ansa inside their next campaign.

Question 3: What benefits does the partnership with Blis bring to buyers as well as the adtech ecosystem?
With RSi’s Ansa solution, building, dynamically optimizing, and reviewing attribution measures for every digital ad campaign has never been so simple. Here is how it works:
1. STORE-LEVEL TARGETING: automatically get from Ansa your store targeting data as store addresses, lat/longs or by Ansa Digital ZIPs to identify stores with the greatest sales potential prior to launching hyper-local media.
2. IN-FLIGHT OPTIMIZATION: see in real-time how sales are trending in your targeted stores vs. a 52-week historical average, and get access to dynamic optimization lists that can guide budget reallocation.
3. MEASUREMENT & INSIGHTS: get access via the online portal to end of campaign analysis just days after the media campaign is over. Visualizations give you a standardized set of analytics, such as sales lift, incremental dollars and units, confidence level, weekly lift, characteristics of high performing stores, etc. Prove and improve your media to help you fine-tune strategies for your future campaigns.

Question 4: What are use cases for the Blis + RSi partnership? (Please provide a few examples from different verticals).
If you are a shopper marketer, maximizing your budgets, understanding performance of your marketing tactics and generating key learnings from those marketing tactics are tasks that are essential to your business.

Running a digital marketing campaign with Blis, and Ansa’s daily, store-level sales intelligence helps make that extremely for the CPG community and shopper marketers specifically.

For existing products, Blis campaigns using Ansa targeting can reach a targeting efficiency of 2:1 vs. campaigns that do not use Ansa store-level targeting thereby ensuring that every dollar is spent driving sales to your most important retailer locations.

Blis campaigns optimized with Ansa typically identify and heavy up investment around 16% of stores that are trending significantly ahead of the average store during a campaign and identify and decrease investment around 14% of stores that are trending significantly behind the average store, therefore ensuring that your budget is being optimized surrounding stores that are over-performing during a given campaign.

After each Blis campaign, Ansa automatically generates measurement of Featured Item Lift and Halo Item Lift at both the total event and week levels. Results are completed 5 business days after the end of each campaign and allow you to learn quickly and improve continuously, all at an amazingly affordable price.

Question 5: What shopper marketing measurement trends do you predict for 2018?
Optimization in-flight based on store sales trends during campaign. Optimizing on engagement, intent and / or clicks may be ok for some campaigns but more and more frequently shopper marketers are tasked with driving sales at their most important retailers. And understanding how their marketing tactics performed 5-6 weeks after a campaign has finished is just not fast enough anymore in today’s fast paced world and puts media providers at a severe disadvantage. By utilizing automated reporting that allows Ansa partners like Blis to understand and optimize their media in-flight based on daily, store-level POS sales data you now empower your media partner to act on supporting the stores that are driving your product sales which can ultimately provide a powerful boost to a shopper marketing campaign.

Question 6: If there was one piece of content you think every marketer should read, what is it?
(Other than this blog post of course!)

Think with Google and Facebook IQ are two fantastic sources of resources. Articles, trends, case studies, POVs, insights, etc… pretty much everything you need to read to keep you up-to-speed in this very fast-paced environment.

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3 Ways Retailers Can Use Mobile for Effective One-to-one...

Today, mobile devices are like mini retail stores we carry around in our pockets: places where consumers can browse merchandise or place orders almost instantly.

But mobile devices also give consumers something they can’t get in stores: personalized marketing. Collecting data like shopping histories and browsing patterns, mmobile devices provide retailers with detailed insight into individual consumers and a means of communicating with them directly.

How can retailers use mobile insights and capabilities to craft effective, one-to-one messaging?

1. Get personal.

Today, consumers want—and expect—ads to speak directly to them. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when their online experiences aren’t personalized.

The easiest way for retailers to personalize content is by harnessing their first-party data. If a customer purchases a dress online, the brand can use what they know about her (her fashion interests, browsing history and email address) to customize subsequent content. For example, the brand can serve an ad via email that suggests a pair of shoes to go along with the new dress.

With CRM data, the retailer can see what the woman bought online, but do they know what she’s purchased elsewhere? Or what she does when she’s not shopping? This is where location data comes in. Retailers that layer location-based insights on to other sources of data can get to know where and when consumers shop at brick and mortar stores. They can also identify other behavioral patterns, including which day of the week and time of day they like to go shopping—data can enables greater levels of personalization.

Let’s say a CPG brand wants to reach out to a previous customer who hasn’t been seen in store lately. The marketers can use their knowledge of the consumer’s daily commute to deliver the ad just before he leaves work, suggesting he stop by on his way home. They may even offer him a discount on the product he previously purchased.

2. Market to individuals, not devices.

Once retailer marketers have identified their ideal audiences on mobile, they shouldn’t see phones as the only means of communication. Consumers own an average of 3.6 connected devices, so retailers should communicate with consumers across the devices they use, including tablets, laptops, desktops and addressable TV.

However, if a retailer sees a user reading political news on the tablet all day but watching cartoons in the evening, it might not be the same same person. With families and partners sharing devices at home, marketers need to make sure they are constructing nuanced consumer profiles across devices in order to reach out to individuals, not just devices.

3. Don’t be creepy.

Personalized, cross-device marketing is on the rise in part because consumers are increasingly willing to disclose their data to retailers. After all, purchase histories and location data are essential for useful or interesting ads.

But how retailers use that data is key. Consumers want to feel understood, but they don’t want to feel like ads are invasive or drawing on data that’s simply too personal and private. Marketers need to make sure they aren’t crossing any personal boundaries or making consumers feel uncomfortable.

If marketers want to turn heads or, more importantly, turn consumers into buyers, they’ll need to do more than blast out generic ads to the masses. When retailers personalize ads with these three tips, they’ll see huge improvements in campaign performance.

But how, exactly, do they measure these improvements? Find out next week when we assess the best metrics for retailers.

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Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

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Embracing the Retailer’s Dream Metric: Cost Per Visit

The twentieth-century American engineer and statistician W. Edwards Deming once said, “Just because you can measure everything, doesn’t mean that you should.”

This applies to retailer struggles today as marketing executives need to decide what they should measure and how. Do they care about impressions, views or click-through rates? And once they figure that out, how can they make sure their ad dollars are really working? The Partnership predicts that ad fraud will cost brands over $16 billion this year alone, while Infectious Media suggests that over half of all digital ads aren’t seen at all.

Fortunately for retailers, there’s a new metric in town—one designed to eliminate waste and increase sales. With a cost-per-visit (CPV) model, retailers pay only when a consumer sees an ad and visits a specific location. Here are four ways retailers are benefiting from this cutting-edge new metric.

1) Increased Foot Traffic

With the National Retail Federation predicting eight to 12 percent e-commerce growth this year alone, no one can deny the rapid rise of online sales. However, 85 percent of consumers still prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores, where 94 percent of all sales are generated. That’s why it’s vital for retailers to keep their physical stores alive and continue to enhance their in-store experiences.

With the explicit goal of bringing visitors into physical store locations, CPV is a metric for retailers wanting to increase foot traffic—and pay only for successful conversions. While there are many ways to boost in-store visits, today’s leading location data solutions use predictive location modeling. With Blis Futures, we choose to charge on a CPV-basis because we are completely confident in this approach.

2) Greater In-store Sales

Driving consumers into brick-and-mortar locations may also encourage consumers to buy more than they anticipated. It gives retailers the opportunity to upsell consumers so they need to make sure they clearly advertise their promotional pricing, point-of-purchase displays and loyalty programs. Once you have a potential customer in the store, you can push tailored messaging in real-time and create personalized promotions. As anyone that has ever been into a Target retail location can attest – you may go in for one specific item but end up unable to leave the store for less than $100! So only paying when a consumer sees an ad and then visits a physical location reaps multiples rewards for a marketer.

3) Branding Opportunities

When retailers buy ads on a cost-per-visit basis, they don’t pay if the consumer sees the ad but doesn’t come into the store. That means the retailer also benefits from ad views and branding. In fact, a consumer may see the ad and make a purchase online rather than in-store, but the marketer still pays nothing for that conversion. At Blis, we are willing to take that risk and allow marketers “free” branding messages. Our confidence in the technology behind our CPV metric allows us to think of marketers first.

4) Risk-free Investing

CPV transfers the risk from buyer to partner, so retailers don’t have to worry about wasted ad spend: They’re making a completely risk-free investment. With free branding and zero downside, retailers have nothing to lose.

When Blis became one of the first tech partners to offer the CPV model earlier this year, we sent a critical message to both retailers and the wider industry: We’re ushering in a new era of transparency and accountability in advertising.

Check back again next week when we switch gears to discuss how retailers can use mobile to boost engagement, retention and acquisition.

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