Four essential tips for a successful location-aware campaign.

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Planning a location-aware campaign? Here are four essential tips for success
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Location-aware advertising campaigns are fast becoming the preferred method of engagement with audiences, however for some advertisers the transition from direct-response and display campaigns can bring its difficulties.

The secret to a successful location-aware campaign lies in your ability to understand how a consumer will experience the ad in relation to their location. We’re not talking about the technicalities of setting up campaigns ,although these are important, nor are we talking about devices, it’s the consumer experience that truly matters.

We’ve outlined four common mistakes that cause location-aware campaigns to fall flat on their face. Avoid them and your campaigns should perform well.

1. Don’t over-target your audience

One of the biggest changes that programmatic advertising has brought is the ability to target audiences with incredible detail. However, it’s all too easy to miss the wood for the trees, and be so specific with targeting parameters that your advert – however great it is – simply doesn’t reach enough people to be effective.

On the first weekend of the Rugby World Cup in the UK, a major drinks brand decided to target fans watching one of the games live by running a campaign specifically targeting fans within the stadium. However, the stadium itself contains only a fraction of fans, the majority will be found within pubs, bars and homes across the country. In this example by limiting their campaign to such a specific location it caused the brand to miss out on a huge chunk of its target audience.

2. Keep user context in mind!

The aim of any advertising campaign is to deliver an ad at a time when the audience is most likely to be responsive. When you add location into the mix the context gets much more interesting – the place where someone is when they view an ad has a huge influence on how they will respond. We’ve all seen an ad that caught us at the worst possible moment – before we board a plane, during an important meeting or midway through our favourite tv programme. A lack of context means your advertisements engagement is at risk and even worse your audience may become hostile to your ad and the brand behind it.

If you are running a campaign that uses location, listen to the suggestions of your planning team on what context these locations give. Take airports as an example, a luxury brand would fit perfectly in the context of a first class lounge, but would the budget airline promotion you sent to the whole airport work for them too?

3. There’s more to location than just a pin on a map

It’s common sense that the more accurately you can understand your audience, the better you can target them. And of course, when it comes to using location, there’s no point showing an advert for a store in London to a shopper in Newcastle. But sadly, plenty of advertising inventory is sold as being location-specific, when in fact the accuracy of that data leaves a lot to be desired.

A common way for publishers or exchanges to add location information to ad inventory is to use the location of the nearest mobile cell tower – but a single cell may cover several miles meaning instead of targeting Liverpool Street Station, you’ve captured the whole city. GPS data can provide a more specific latitude and longitude, however this only tells us someone’s geographical location. The ideal solution is to cross-reference as many data points as possible, such as content habits, location history and demographic data, both to ensure the best possible accuracy and also to build up a better understanding of the context of that location at that time.

4. When it comes to the creative, one size doesn’t fit all

If you’ve gone to so much trouble in the planning phase of your campaign to understand the location and context that will best get your ad seen, surely you would take the same care with the creative itself? Sadly, there are still too many brands who think that simply re-using existing campaigns created for TV or desktop is fine. After all, it’s still a screen, just smaller.

As we’ve already mentioned, the context of how an ad is received is the most important factor in driving engagement – and location is essential to that contextual understanding. So if you are targeting commuters who are likely to be on intermittent 3G or 4G connections, the last thing they want is a massive autoplay video that uses up their bandwidth. Equally, if you know that someone is at home and on a fast broadband connection, you can take advantage by serving a rich ad creative like video and audio without any speed issues.

A person’s location will influence what device they will be viewing the advert on. Getting this right is crucial. According to video advertising specialists Celtra, a whopping 98% of people who were served a video in landscape didn’t bother rotating their phones, and just watched it in portrait mode – completely spoiling the impact of what was on screen in the first place.

Programmatic creative allows you to deliver hyper-specific ads on the fly by combining different image, message and headlines depending on the audience at any given moment. As we know, the more relevant an advert is, the more likely it is to drive engagement – so your creative needs to have just as much thought behind it as your targeting.

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