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Digital Marketing

Improved Mobile Targeting Strategies

Linda Bien | Web Analytics

Ever accidentally leave your phone at home for the day? It’s a lot like that nightmare of being naked in public. It’s because not having our phone makes us anxious.

The reason for the mobile anxiety is because we’ve become more and more dependent on our mobile phones. Today consumers spend 23.3% of their day, nearly 3 hours, engaging with their mobile devices. As such, the amount of money advertisers are putting towards mobile is growing – mobile ad spend is projected to rise to $125 billion by 2018.

Capitalizing on New Targeting Technologies

If today’s marketers want to capitalize on this quickly growing market, they have to move beyond basic day parting and geographic bid adjustments when they consider mobile targeting.

Here are some advanced Mobile targeting strategies that make use of new technologies and are better at driving customers to brick and mortar establishments.

Temporal and Geographic Targeting (Geoaware & Geofencing)

When it comes to mobile ads, sometimes it just comes down to being in the “right time and place.” Mobile targeting strategies that utilize geoaware ads and geofencing can do just that, literally. Marketers can send out targeted messages within a set geographic area during a set time duration.

A city restaurant can take advantage of the lunch crowds and send potential patrons a mobile coupon 1-2 hours before they head to lunch. A university coffee shop could send out a mobile coupon to nearby students during final exams. The right time and location matters.

It’s been proven that consumer purchase intentions are highest when they receive an SMS close to the time and place of the promoted event. As clothing retailer H&M discovered when they sent geoaware messages to mobile users in the vicinity of their retail stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, they experienced a 2.3% CTR.

Weather Targeting

More people buy sunscreen during the summer and shovels during the winter. The season and daily weather can have a strong influence on consumer buying behavior. An ad for a bowl of warm soup could be what draws customers in during an especially cold day. Or, if it’s raining, an ad that promotes “free delivery” could be a godsend.

Unilever, maker of the shampoo brand Pantene, took advantage of this strategy and were reportedly “very happy with the sales uplift” when they advertised their anti-static hair product during days of high humidity.

Crowdsense Targeting

Not only are we dependent on our phones for communication, but for entertainment and comfort. This is especially true when we’re “trapped” in crowded environments for long periods of time. There’s a reason why more airports are offering mobile charging stations and wifi.

In the research paper “Mobile Crowdsensing,” an experiment was performed where subway passengers were sent an SMS message during varying degrees of crowdedness. The study found that mobile conversion rate averaged 2.1% when passenger density was two people per square meter, versus 4.3% when passenger density was five people per square meter.1

Competitor Targeting (Geoconquesting)

A sale from a customer is nearly impossible to obtain when that customer is already in your competitor’s establishment. Meat Pack, a designer shoe store in Guatemala, took that notion as a challenge.

Meat Pack developed Hijack, an enhancement of their mobile app, to trigger a special “discount” for customers that entered a competitor store. The discount started at 99% but decreased by 1% every second, forcing people to, literally, run towards Meat Pack to get the best deal their foot speed would allow. Of course not all businesses can or can risk a stampede of customers demanding such high discounts. More conservative promotions have also found success.

For example, Outback’s CTR for their competitor ads exceeded the industry benchmark by 80% and post click activities showed an 11% lift compared to standard geo-fenced ads.


With the steady growth of mobile ad dollars, mobile marketers need to think of smarter ways to target and spend to create an impactful campaign. The variety of ways to target based on location, weather and time provide the ability to create a very unique and tailored experience for users.