The Many Layers of Geo-Targeting

By definition, a geofenced or geo-targeted ad is one that is served to users within a specific area (or areas) of a city. However, a geo-targeted ad campaign needs to go beyond defining the geographical boundaries and reaching user devices in real time. Here are other factors and ideas to keep in mind if you’re planning for these types of campaigns.

Timing can make it or break it

For geo-targeting, timing is absolutely key, so day parting is essential to maximize performance. This consists of scheduling the ads within defined times of the day/ days of the week. In many occasions, timing can define the intent of a user towards a specific brand/vertical. Ads should be mental triggers and some products might be more appealing on specific moments.

Let’s say that you have a campaign for a quick service restaurant launching pancakes as a new product, which will be geo-targeted to office areas. As people don’t usually have pancakes for lunch (at least not during working days) it’s imperative to schedule the ads for breakfast mongers and snackers. For users on the lookout for test drives it’s a whole different story, and a late weekend morning will fit the bill so serving them an ad when they are in the vicinity of a showroom would make perfect sense. If you are showcasing a movie launch geo-fenced around cinemas, it’s critical that the ad is served well before the movie starts.

All in for relevance

Studies state that people prefer geo-relevant time-targeted creatives as opposed to generic ads with little or no relevance. A recently concluded geo-fenced push ads campaign for a female fashion and beauty brand, targeted Chinese women in the UAE (visitors and expats) on weekday afternoons (extending until later hours on Thursdays), resulted in a strong 4% CTR (around 0.8-1% regional industry benchmark). This was accomplished by targeting arriving Chinese flights by geofencing the airport terminals during the times of arrival and layering the language parameter while purely focussing on catching them on their popular apps such as Weibo, WeChat to name a few.

For football enthusiasts that follow their teams on popular apps such as 365scores and Forza, and watch at their friend’s or in a bar, serving them a subscription package deal for beIN right before, during half time and right after the game would be very effective. This would be day parting to understand when the games are on. We can also analyse their historical behaviour with regards to time spent on the app, which sections are the most popular ones, and layer that with the targeting technology of geo fencing POIs such as bars, Ramadan tents, cafes etc.

On a separate note, running ads for auto brands with Ramadan related offers, geo-fenced to Ramadan tents, and served only during Suhoor and Iftar may result in a higher volume of leads. The setting is right, the timing is apt, the users are with their friends and families and the mood is of contentment.

Qualcomm iZat location services

Through our partner networks, we now have access to Qualcomm® IZat™ location services’ technology which allows us to understand the co-ordinates of a device ID through the Qualcomm chipset processors of the smartphones themselves thus making it even more accurate. The Qualcomm Snapdragon processors comes equipped with iZat location technology, and our partner network allows us to target our audience personas at geo-fenced locations accurately.

Retargeting and geo-targeting

Geo-targeting can also be used in combination with retargeting. Auto brands can geofence their showrooms and “geo-conquest” competitor showrooms, and by identifying the device IDs it is possible to create a heatmap of the user journey as they visit or pass by our defined points of interest. Simultaneously, a city-wide campaign could be set up to retarget users with ads specific to the offers available in the showrooms that they visited, but while they are comfortably sitting on their couch or during their office break.

Winning ad formats

Quick munchable ad formats work best for geofenced time targeted campaigns. Based on our experience, some of the best performing formats are: MPUs, interstitials, native ads, and snackable 10 second in-read or pre-roll vertical videos.

Tactical video campaigns with TV sync targeting need to ensure that the timing is right for the ad unit to be served on the user’s device. Similarly, for any new product launch promo video campaign, the time of day it is served makes a difference between brand resonance, impulsive purchase and complete ignorance to the content or the product shown.

Strong strategies required

Having a strong tactical strategy is crucial when it comes to geofencing. We need to understand the campaign objectives, the target audience set, and the message it intends to deliver. The objective is reaching users when their attention span can be leveraged to maximize on brand resonance and message delivery. Bear in mind that whenever a user is online, they are constantly consuming content so timing is the key to serve an ad relevant enough to draw their attention.

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About Author

Satrajit Duttagupta

Satrajit is the Technical Digital Manager within OMD's C&E team, and has over 13 years of digital marketing experience across various disciplines and verticals. He consults on all mobile media strategies for OMD. He is passionate about technology, innovation and all things mobile and that’s certainly evident in the regional first mobile media experiences & development projects he has brought to the table for OMD.

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