Some call the retargeting algorithms that serve ads based on recent browsing history intrusive or redundant, but we call them smart.
Why? Because simply put: Advertising to consumers already interested in specific products has always been effective and doing it in digital channels is too. Yet, retargeting often misses one very important and necessary component: Timed context. Just because a brand serves an ad for a product that interested a shopper in the past doesn’t mean it is relevant later on. National brands and retailers may craft the perfect message, but the magic in good targeting lies in ensuring those messages are delivered at the right time.
Hyperlocal targeting is about more than place.
Hyperlocal targeting can speak to a general geographic area or an exact physical location. But different behaviors occur depending on where someone is located. A grocery retailer may want to reach a shopper at home with an awareness message – about a sale or new product available at a nearby store location. These messages drive the shoppers in-store. Once there, they need different messaging to drive sales – like an incentivizing coupon only redeemable in-store or suggested products to complete their grocery list. The type of message the shopper receives is highly dependent on timing. Fortunately, highly-specific location targeting can help better inform the choice of marketing messages.
Hyperlocal targeting keeps consumers plugged in.
Today’s consumers can engage websites and search engines along with social networks and mobile ads all within a short time span. It can exhaust them, particularly if they are served the same ads over and over. As they become more and more savvy, they find ways to filter out irrelevant information they have seen before or that does not connect to their interests and needs. Plug-ins like Adblock Plus – an extension for Google’s Chrome browser that blocks digital ads – are just one example of how over-saturated shoppers are saying “enough” to ads.
How can brands avoid getting fenced out of shoppers’ lives? They can serve more relevant content consumers don’t want to block. According to a Yahoo survey, “consumers find personalized ads to be more engaging (54 percent), educational (52 percent), time-saving (49 percent) and memorable (45 percent).” Hyperlocal targeting allows brands to establish personal relevance by connecting people directly to offers and products within their geographical area or to their immediate surroundings. It also allows them to deliver timely offers – calling out the sale dates and expiration of special offers. Getting “fresh,” limited-time content in front of consumers that is available at a nearby location drives greater urgency and in turn leads to better in-store sales.
Hyperlocal targeting in mobile is the place to beat the competition.
Mobile devices allow marketers to reach consumers anywhere, anytime. This is why hyperlocal targeting with mobile works so well. Unfortunately, a study conducted earlier this year by Adobe found only 14 percent of marketers plan a “high digital spend” for their mobile marketing efforts. This is a bit confounding because mobile’s numbers of users and engagement continue to grow, representing a huge revenue opportunity for marketers. Going mobile means reaching more of the right people and going hyperlocal in mobile means reaching them with even more relevant marketing messages at the right place and time.
3 Ways To Get Hyperlocal Now
National brands and retailers can jump ahead of their competition by hyperlocalizing now. Here’s how.
Start With EXISTING Loyal Consumers
Most brands already have enthusiastic customers. They are the first to respond to sales and the most likely to talk about their shopping experiences on social media. They are also the most likely to appreciate hyperlocal messaging — about regional product offers, location-specific coupons, and time-sensitive pricing — because of their personalized nature. Those shoppers enrolled in loyalty programs even “demand” these experiences according to eMarketer research — with 76 percent wanting more relevant discounts and offers and 62 percent wanting personalized offers.
CVS Pharmacy, widely credited with having one of the best mobile app engagement strategies, provides customized services and messages to holders of their ExtraCare loyalty card. They use hyperlocal tactics like in-app circulars, product scanning capabilities connected directly to store inventory and discounts offered in-store to deliver on customer expectations.
It is also important to note how CVS is using mobile devices specifically to reach these loyalists. In 2012, more than one million customers per month visited CVS.com from a tablet. Additionally, when announcing their mobile strategy delivered a 250% jump in traffic, incoming CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes touted mobile’s ability to “reduce the total cost to serve our customers and ultimately it helps us deliver better health outcomes for our patients.” Clearly, CVS not only recognizes the importance of loyal consumers, but also knows how to reach them in meaningful ways.
Build On The In-store Experience
Marketers must also realize that hyperlocal messaging needs to complement and enhance the in-store experience for consumers. Whole Foods is a master at hyperlocalizing their social media and other digital tactics, creating regionally-targeted messages for their shoppers as well as site-specific engagement opportunities. Their stores’ social channels feature local produce, in-store events, and even staff to build stronger ties to their consumers’ lives. Whole Foods also ensures these experiences are available to mobile shoppers. With a hyperlocal approach, they offer real value to their customers while also driving them in-store and building a stronger brand image.
Optimize Existing utilities
Hyperlocal targeting easily integrates into existing digital programs. For more than a year, Macy’s has pioneered the use of its mobile app for everything from custom promotions to in-store bar code scanning during high volume retail days like Black Friday. Much like Gap’s reserve in-store program, which took eCommerce and connect it to in-store, Macy’s has taken an existing mobile application and updated its capabilities to target people at the right time and up-sell. In short, they increased sales by optimizing an existing tool with hyperlocal capabilities.
The issue of timing is no longer an obstacle thanks to smarter ad delivery technologies and increased mobile engagement. Additionally, hyperlocalization helps establish the relevance in consumers’ lives they increasingly expect to find in promotional content. If the message can be hyperlocal then it can also be hyper-relevant. For marketers, that means the right time for hyperlocal targeting is now.
What are your business’s challenge in getting hyperlocal? What excites you about the opportunity it represents? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on social!
Rohit Bhargava is a five time best selling author and the Founder of the Influential Marketing Group. He has contributed to dozens of publications on various marketing topics, including Fast Company and Forbes.