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Mobile now makes up 88% of all local searches – I’m sure you’re not surprised.

These mobile searches continue to grow at an average rate of 146% each year. That’s pretty spectacular if  you knew what to do with the information. But many small to medium-sized businesses do not, rendering their ad campaigns almost ineffective- it’s unfortunate, but true.

The development of a successful mobile-local ad campaign hinges on two major factors—determining accurate user location, and crafting contextually relevant ad content. Failing to incorporate accurate context into mobile-local ads proves to be nothing more than a nuisance for viewers, and a waste of resources for advertisers.

Location, location, location…

The first step in creating a well-developed localized mobile campaign is determining location signals to ensure they are the most relevant for the campaign. There are a number of location-based signals available from mobile carriers, but targeting abilities vary in accuracy. As a result, not all mobile sites and networks collect the data necessary to target on a hyperlocal level-so you have to take that into consideration.

Location data depends on the information a publisher gathers from a mobile user. Any piece of location data, whether static ZIP code or roaming GPS signal, can be translated by a publisher into a signal, and then provided to an ad network looking to place ads based on this data.

With stronger signals, latitude and longitude data is the most precise information for hyper local ad targeting. It is gathered when consumers opt-in for various services and their mobile devices provide GPS coordinates, creating a great source of targeting (sometimes down to a several block radius-bone sprints for the company).

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the techy stuff, and know how mobile data can pinpoint your audience, you still need to put relevant, immediate content and advertising in front of them. So, what can and should  you do with this information, and how can it benefit your clicks and sales?

I’ll give you one word: Value

Right out of the gate, realize this: No matter how localized your offers may be, if prospects and customers don’t feel there’s an equitable value for providing their location information, they won’t give your site or app permission to obtain it. You need to give them a good reason to trust you, to peruse further, and to click and learn more about you. Blindly asking for location without providing a distinct value exchange won’t entice users to give their information. Instead, you should clearly define what location information will provide your company, and in turn, what benefits the user will receive for providing it.

Just for the record. “value” doesn’t need to be defined by monetary value, either. Often, customers will choose to do business with a company in their areas, simply because they feel a connection to a local, familiar brand. In return, the value exchange comes in the form of engagement and real-time communications.

Be sure there’s an audience to be found

People love using mobile social media and search because it’s convenient and immediate. There’s no shortage of listings, forums, and conversations about seemingly every conceivable subject and product.

Because of this, marketers can not only find out what prospects are searching for, but when they’re asking for it, looking for it , and what information peers are providing. In these real-time conversations, people don’t just tweet and share thoughts, but they also seek advice about specific products and services. 

So you know what items are trending in your area. You know what types of things customers are discussing. To those new to geofencing, it seems like a no-brainer to target consumers who are nearby a specific location, or a heavily trafficked part of town. But this can result in very few quality results because there may not be that many addressable mobile devices within such a narrowly defined area. For companies with more limited data about a target audience, it may make more sense to first focus on a broader ZIP code or other region until the data begins to take shape over time.

However, if your company has data and information to support more hyper-local targeting, it increases the likelihood of being relevant to those who see the ad.

Another tactic marketers may want to consider when employing a hyper-local strategy is to try to reach consumers who are nearby a competitor’s location but still in the advertiser’s general area. This is competitive geofencing, and can be a huge advantage in crowded markets.

For example, a beauty salon store can create a geofence that includes all other salons in their area, and then deliver ads when mobile users get within a certain range of these locations.

Even if a customer is much closer to a competitor’s location, if your ad presents a strong value offering, they are likely to travel a bit further to capitalize on the deal.

These tips underscore the importance of knowing where to target your potential customers, and the importance of a well-thought out mobile strategy.