Column

Mobile Matters

Checkin

Local Deals Drive Nationwide Interest in Mobile Marketing

by: | September 13, 2011

Mobile subscriber tracking emerged as a hot-button subject earlier this year after British researchers reported iPhone and iPod devices had been recording location and time-stamp data since the mid-2010 release of Apple’s iOS 4 software update, effectively creating a comprehensive log of all user movement and activities during that time. Apple later explained the data collection resulted from a software bug and patched the problem, but fallout from the controversy rippled all the way to Capitol Hill. Two bills introduced in mid-June in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate—the Location Privacy Protection Act and Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act—even propose new restrictions on how both private companies and government agencies can collect and implement user location data, mandating that mobile industry giants like Apple and Google, as well as their application developer partners, must obtain express consent from users before sharing information with third parties.

But here’s the catch: A majority of mobile subscribers say they’re perfectly comfortable with sharing their location info—provided they get something in return, that is. A recent consumer survey issued by mobile media firm JiWire reports that 53 percent of U.S. respondents are willing to exchange their location data to receive more relevant content—among subscribers under the age of 34, the number surges to 60 percent. Credit the explosion of targeted local deals: Asked to identify the most important information about a brand when they’re within a mile of a retail or product location, 29 percent cited sales and promotions, ahead of all other responses. JiWire adds that among respondents who’ve signed up to receive local mobile deals, 92 percent buy at least one each month, with restaurant-themed promotions more popular than any other vertical. Also worth noting: Almost 80 percent of mobile deals purchases total less than $50—while 63 percent of women spend less than $25 on average, 52 percent of men typically spend between $25 and $50.

Given growing consumer acceptance of targeted mobile marketing, it’s no surprise to learn that local advertisers are on track to spend close to $800 million total this year on mobile ads and more than $400 million on mobile promotions like contests, coupons, and deals, according to new data published by local advertising consulting firm Borrell Associates. Those numbers are on pace to roughly double every year for the next five, Borrell adds—if the forecast is correct, local mobile marketing expenditures would eclipse $18 billion for advertising and $4 billion for promotions, even more than small and medium businesses spend on traditional web-based marketing here and now.

It may seem clichéd to suggest there’s no time like the present for your restaurant or retail shop to join the legions of small businesses leveraging the mobile marketing opportunity, but it’s also absolutely true—not just because your competitors are likely already moving in that direction, but also because of the time of year we’re now entering. With Labor Day now past and summer dissipating, the holiday season is officially on the horizon, and according to JiWire, 86 percent of American consumers plan to use their phones to simplify their holiday shopping demands this time around—moreover, 52 percent plan to use their phones more this year than they did in Q4 2010. Price comparisons lead all mobile use scenarios, but shoppers also expect to research and read reviews, capitalize on coupons and promotions, find nearby stores, and check product availability. By pushing out compelling local mobile deals and seasonal sales that eliminate the stress and hassles of the holiday shopping rush, you can make it even easier for consumers to find your place of business by finding them first. Privacy may be golden, but smart shoppers agree that a sweet deal sent directly to their smartphones is even more valuable.Marketing Zeus

Last holiday season, Mobile Matters reported that 64 percent of research respondents anticipated using their phones before shopping and urged small businesses to pay attention. Is your business prepared for the upcoming season?

Posted in: B2C, Campaign Development, Content, Direct Response, E-Commerce, Geolocation, Local, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, SMS, Social Coupons, Travel

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

View Full Bio »

More Columns