Social. Local. Mobile. These are the fastest growing trends in marketing today and are likely to stay for some time. In terms of media consumption, they’ve come to dominate consumer attention. In terms of targeting and communication, they’ve opened more precise channels. In terms of data and measurement, they are reinventing marketing. And in terms of technology, they are disrupting entire industries.
The convergence of Social, Local, and Mobile is often referred to as the SoLoMo phenomenon. Remember the term; you are likely to be hearing lots about it in the foreseeable future.
For the first time, brands can tie social and mobile engagements directly to offline transactions
The fundamental driver of SoLoMo is smart phone adoption. Millions of new smart phones are being activated every day. Mobile devices like the smart phone and tablet are the beginning of a post PC era. Billions of people will now be connected by their current location and interests.
The smart phone represents an opportunity to reach consumers at key times in the purchase decision making process. Knowing a consumer's location, as well as the time they're at that location, is the best predictor of his or her intent to buy.
Location-Based Engagement: The New Channel
There are several types of Location Based Engagements. The engagements that bring together Social, Location and Mobile are the most powerful. Engagements like check-ins and tagged tweets are being shared with a consumer’s social connections via Facebook, Twitter, Google, and/or Foursquare. What most retailers do not realise is that this activity is happening organically around their store locations every day. Consumers are increasingly sharing their experiences, which often include brands and places. Brands need to encourage this behavior and use it as a marketing tool.
What is Location based Marketing?
Location-Based Marketing (LBM) is defined as the use of mobile, social and location marketing to target mobile users within a certain geographic area. This is increasingly being called the SoLoMo space.
The location-based marketing channel presents unparalleled opportunities for marketers. It encompasses social media, direct marketing, consumer research, customer relationship management, loyalty, couponing, content, brand management, inbound marketing, search, customer acquisition, and more.
What types of businesses really benefit from Location based Marketing?
Location-Based Marketing is perfect for you if you want to promote your product or service to people within a specific area. In other words, if you’re a multi store retailer and you want to target people who are within a radius of each of your locations, then you need to consider Location Based Marketing.
Ads and offers that integrate time and the consumer's location generate considerably more business than a generic advert. For example, half price lunch for people that check-in on Facebook or FourSquare after 2.30. This helps restaurants to extend the hours of lunch time trade and also ensure any unsold lunches fly out the door. This can be applied to all manner of retailers, to promote flash sales, move last season’s stock and promote new products in store.
Geographic Targeting for Impulse Items
Geo-targeting works particularly well for local businesses that sell low-cost, impulse items. You can now let prospects know about your offer when they’re in the vicinity, but few people are going to drop by for a last minute mortgage or wedding dress. Think about what you can offer consumers on the spot — like a cup of coffee, a complementary gift or free 15 minute fashion consultation.
Targeting a Geographic Niche
Usually ads are designed to reach as many people as possible. Even online targeted ads have a wide reach. But when you’re looking for hungry people near a certain street in Dun Laoghaire, that really narrows the field. The benefit? You’re not paying for people outside of the catchment area to see an ad for a restaurant in Dun Laoghaire.
Reaching out to this Audience
At The Search Mill we have developed an online package that allows retailers to track location based engagements like check-ins and tagged tweets. This represents an opportunity to reach and engage a new audience of consumers and advocates. You can even identify your customers with the most influence online. Engaging these people is hugely rewarding.
Isn’t it time your business considered Location based Marketing?
As an area predicted to grow over the next few years, mobile commerce is being pushed by many brands and companies, Paypal in particular has spearheaded an aggressive expansion to try and control the market. However, for more traditional outlets, implementing such practices in-store or outside it poses their own problems.
One solution to this problem is the poster store concept, where a list of goods and accompanying QR code is displayed in a busy area. Originally introduced by Tesco in Korea back in June, the idea has proven popular enough for other retailers and companies to try it out in subways, shopping centres and other busy areas where potential consumers could be found.
Scandinavian ecommerce platform provider Jetshop decided to try this method of shopping out in Stockholm Central Station. To highlight the benefits and convenience of m-commerce, they set up a pop-up superstore which took up over 130 square meters.
With 20 different retailers such as Amazon Marketplace participating in the campaign, commuters had the opportunity to purchase goods such as DVDs, clothing, games and cosmetics. Each product was accompanied by a QR code which, when scanned, provided further information about the product and an option to purchase via smartphone.
With over 250,000 commuters passing through the station every day during the week that the store was in operation (March 12th – 18th), it meant that the superstore was (in theory) seen by roughly 1.5 million people.
Not only is the campaign a great way of getting the message of mobile commerce across, but it also works as a form of market research, showing what goods have the most success with this format. In their preliminary results, NFC World reported that the items usually associated with impulse buying, like T-shirts, books, DVDs and cosmetics were the most successful, while more expensive products, those priced over €150 to be exact, were met with little interest.
For this reason, getting 20 different stores to participate was clever as they could find out exactly which goods performed well and adjust their marketing strategy as such when approaching brands and businesses.
Is this the retail store of tomorrow as Jetshop say it is? Who knows, but with the information and findings this experiment brought, we may see stores like this pop up in stations and advertising billboards across cities over the next few years.
Following on from Twitter’s unveiling of Promoted Tweets and Stories, the company is giving brands and businesses more options to reach their target audience, in the form of targeted tweets.
Having introduced Promoted Tweets three weeks ago, these have been expanded so that brands can now target specific devices when running a campaign. The options include desktop computers and laptops, iOS, Android and other mobile devices. Alternatively, you can also target campaigns to users across all devices if you wish.
The idea is that if a brand has a campaign that requires users to have a smartphone to take part, then you can optimise your campaign so that you target only iOS and Android users, the example Twitter gives on its blog is that mobile game and app sellers can now pinpoint the users who are likely to purchase their products.
The reasoning Twitter gives for these changes are the millions of users who are now using smartphones as their main access to Twitter. A few months ago, their CEO Dick Costolo said that 55 per cent of Twitter’s active users can be found on mobile devices so the move makes complete sense.
Considering how much importance Facebook are placing on the mobile experience, in both a practical and commercial sense, how developers and brands utilize their pages and apps is vital for its success. Their mobile strategy mainly features unobtrusive advertising that’s expected to be introduced soon, but now the company are now allowing (for now) developers to view just how well their apps are doing across mobile platforms.
In a recent blog post, Facebook software engineer Greg Schechter revealed that they have created a new Mobile Referrals dashboard to let developers see the traffic their app receives from mobile sources.
To access these stats, you must be an Admin, Developer, or Insights user of the app in order to view them. Finding them is simply a matter of visiting the main Insights dashboard. Underneath the traffic section will be two options, news feed (allows you to check your regular Insights data), and mobile.
Alongside the usual mobile clicks data and breakdown data of demographics and devices, mobile Insights also allows users to see just how exactly their app was accessed through source breakdown. The main areas that can be accessed are through the news feed, your timeline page, notifications, bookmarks (automatically displayed within Facebook once the user login to the app), search and unknown.
While this is only been released for app developers, there’s nothing to say that this feature won’t extend towards regular Insights for brand pages. There’s a massive mobile market out there for brands to take advantage of as that’s where more and more users are and despite the fact that Facebook have yet to convert brand pages on mobile devices to Timeline, it would still be useful information for them to have access to.
Very rarely will you ever come across a graph, map or anything related to technology that will look as stunning as this. Aaron Parecki, co-founder of Geologqi, a platform for real-time location, messaging and analytics, decided to illustrate all the data that he logged in through Geoloqui over the course of three and a half years. Once he had all the data gathered, it was run through a custom script that project the GPS logs onto a 2D map.
According to Parecki, approximately one GPS point was recorded every 2-6 seconds when he was moving, and the images represent about 2.5 million total GPS points. As he says himself:
“Collectively, they represent a data portrait of my life: everywhere I’ve been and the places I’ve been most frequently. The map is coloured by year, so you can see how my footprint changes over the years, depending on where I live…To get data at this resolution, I had to bring back-up batteries with me and charge my phone whenever I could. I would manually turn the tracker on when I moved, and turn if off when I was at an indoor location for a long period of time. To get this level of accuracy results in a great deal of battery drain.”
It’s fascinating (and perhaps a little unsettling) to see just how well our movements can be tracked and over such a long period of time. It also helps that the graphs are nice to look at, almost looking like a piece of art instead of a large amount of data represented visually. You can see the rest of Parecki’s graphs and visualisations on his Flickr page.
Facebook mobile userbase continues to grow with the company stating that 432 million people access their service through this medium. After updating the filing for their $5 billion IPO, the company had originally estimated that they had 425 million at the beginning of last month.
Alongside these stats, Facebook have said that around 58 million users log in exclusively on a tablet or mobile phone, meaning that the remaining 374 million accessed the site through both mobile and their personal computers. The increase in overall numbers marks a 76 per cent growth from 245 million back in December 31,2010.
These 432 million make up more than half of Facebook’s overall number of active users, totalling at 845 million and an increase of 39 per cent from last year’s total of 608 million. This all ties in with Facebook’s marketing strategy where it plans to introduce ads on their mobile pages.
The company will be adding these through sponsored stories which will promote particular posts from brands instead of traditional ads for a page or website. Through its new format, Facebook claim that brands can increase their reach by 50-75 per cent due to the reliance on the news feed to see posts from friends and brands.
Considering the fact that there’s roughly 425 million mobile users out of a total of 825 million Facebook users, it’s no surprise that Facebook is making a push towards developing their mobile experience. Acting as a potential goldmine for revenue if they crack it, the company is putting measures in place to help make this become a reality.
To help develop this, Facebook’s Director of Developer Relations Douglas Purdy has revealed that the company has introduced a number of changes and initiatives to help improve the overall mobile experience. Identifying three different areas of interest – app discovery, mobile browser fragmentation and payments – the site has created a new group called the W3C Mobile Web Platform Core Community Group.
Consisting of over 30 different device manufacturers, carriers, and developers, the group is set on improving the standard of mobile browsers and help developers understand the capabilities of mobile browsers and their app’s potential reach. The Core Community Group consists of companies such as Samsung, Mozilla, Vodafone, Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix and Electronic Arts to name but a few.
Also, Facebook has released a new mobile test suite called Ringmark which will help developers figure out which mobile browsers support the functionality their app needs to work. Ringmark measures how well mobile browsers handle the qualities of each particular app and see what works and what doesn’t.
The second initiative is mobile payment, with the company trying to minimize the number of steps required to complete a transaction on a mobile web app. Instead of having to go through carrier billing, developers will be able to tap into Facebook’s payment system and quickly confirm purchases.
Partnering with operators such as Orange, T-Mobile USA, AT&T and Vodafone, nine different operators now allow Facebook’s Pay Dialog to operate automatically into any app, making it easier for users to purchase apps via operator billing.
This ties in with Facebook trying to increase the level of ecommerce that goes through the site and develop a new revenue stream for the company.
“Facebook has worked closely with hundreds of developers building web-based mobile apps. We’ve also built m.facebook.com, and even have web views in our native apps to render features like News Feed and Timeline. Over the past couple of years, we’ve built up a lot of knowledge about mobile HTML5—including the realization that “build once, deploy everywhere” has significant caveats.
Broadly, these boil down to two major issues; performance and feature set. Poor canvas performance, for example, is inhibiting game developers from building on the mobile web. And limited feature sets prevent app developers from competing with native applications. Not being able, for example, to use camera functionality in an HTML5 app can result in a sub-optimal user experience—or sometimes no appropriate experience at all.”
All of this is pushing towards making Facebook a more financially alluring place for both companies and app developers. Considering the success of Open Graph apps on Facebook, according to Facebook’s CTO, Bret Taylor, the site drives roughly 60 million users to mobile apps, expect these areas to be key in the company’s strategy for 2012.
If anyone believed that the saga involving companies uploading and saving contact data on their servers unsolicited was over when Path apologised, it appears that it was only the beginning of a much wider practice which Path CEO Dave Morin alluded to. Twitter have become the latest company to admit to the practice after revealing that they download users’ entire address book once they use the ‘Find Friends’ feature on their smartphone app.
Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, Twitter spokesperson Carolyn Penner said the company is planning an update to the language they use in the mobile app, saying “we are updating the language associated with ‘Find Friends’ – to be more explicit. In place of Scan your contacts, we will use ‘Upload your contacts’ (in Twitter for iPhone) and ‘Import your Contacts’” (for Twitter for Android).
It doesn’t seem to matter where you go these days, you’ll always come across somebody using a smartphone on their commute, in a restaurant or in a cafe. If it seems difficult to escape these users, then the next few years will see an increase of them with one billion smartphone users expected to be around by 2016.
Or at least Forrester Research believe that this will be the case. Analysts at the research firm believe that in four years time, over one billion people will be using smartphones, 350 million of those will be used for work purposes and more than half of that 350 million will bring their own devices into work.
Out of all these devices that will be circulating the world, the market is expected to be dominated by Apple, Google and Microsoft with them controlling around 90 per cent of the market with their respective platforms.
Also by 2016, consumer spending in the mobile app market will reach $56 billion while businesses spending on mobile projects will double in growth. While mentioned earlier that roughly 200 million would bring their own smartphones to work, tablets will get the same treatment with roughly 70 per cent of those used for work would be owned by the employees themselves.
To compile these results, 3,534 business decision makers, such as chief information officers and I.T. technicians, from 61 different companies of various sizes were interviewed. The group made up of companies such as Microsoft, RIM, Skype, Dropbox and AT&T among others.
While the capabilities of smartphones are developing rapidly, it’s impossible to tell just how technologically advance they’ll be in four years time, the survey does reflect the fact that users see smartphones as just another way of keeping connected. They’re being used in many different ways for personal and professional methods.
Another area of concern would be the wireless and mobile infrastructure for keeping these devices connected. With a potential one billion smartphones populating the world, mobile operators and broadband providers may struggle to keep up with the demand, but by four years you would expect them to handle this demand just as well as they are now, but with faster speeds and a more reliable service.
With the increase in smartphone owners and access to mobile web increasing, it’s no surprise that the majority of reports reflect this trend with apps, mobile sites and ownership figures all on the up. Yet one of the more interesting reports covers the past three years, showing a steady growth of mobile internet usage across this period.
Analytics firm StatCounter, looked at global internet usage through mobile devices (excluding tablets) and found that global internet usage through mobile devices rose to 8.5%, almost double than what it was in 2011(4.3%). That is in comparison to the years previous where 1.6% of traffic in 2010 was mobile while 2009 only made up 0.7%. Practically, mobile web use has doubled year on year
The firm also announced new statistics regarding mobile vendors on its site. They found that when covering all traffic on their network, it was Nokia that clearly leads worldwide with roughly 38% – the report attributing this to the company’s dominance in India. Apple follows behind in second with roughly 29% but leads the U.S. and U.K. markets while in the U.K., RIM is placed second among British users but fourth worldwide (9%), while Samsung is placed in third making up roughly 14%.
They’re interesting trends when you consider that Apple isn’t the behemoth it is in the U.S. and that Nokia’s dominance in this sector suggests that they’re in a stronger position than most people give them credit for. The real point to take from this is that if these trends continue, it’ll eventually mean that one in three people (34%) will be accessing the web through smartphones by January 2014. Considering the strides mobile devices have made over the last few years, it’s very much possible.