LocalResponse, a reality for location-based mobile advertising

16Oct11

Location-based advertising sounds like something you would have heard of in a 1980’s futuristic movie.  The idea that a person could receive an advertisement based on where they were at that specific moment in time is an advertiser’s dream! It’s almost too easy, but is it possible today? According to ad agency, LocalResponse, it is absolutely possible…if you have a smartphone, Twitter account, and use check-in applications like Foursquare or Yelp.

Location-based mobile advertising isn’t perfect, but this step is proof that businesses are getting to know their consumers even better and can further customize their products to individuals. Prior to being able to physically locate consumers, businesses bought email lists and sent suggestions based on other interests a consumer may have (i.e. “Others who bought ___ also bought ___”), both of these things still current. Currently it is limited to those who choose to make their location known publically online. LocalResponse has the ability to search through “check-ins” on social media sites and allows businesses to access a database of who is visiting their venue. Businesses can then let those visitors know more about them or offer special deals and coupons.

What could this advertising capability mean to businesses and consumers? Hopefully it means better communication and will offer consumers the ability to enjoy their favorite places or brands even more. For businesses this could be a double bonus – targeted advertising to loyal customers, while getting free plugs from customers who are telling their friends about their business!

Although this sounds like a win-win for both customers and businesses there could be some potential drawbacks. Consumers may really not want to be bogged down by more advertising flooding their inbox or appearing on Twitter feeds, and start advocating Do Not Advertise lists. Businesses will also have to be very careful of how they manage this new technology, and will definitely have to commit a full-time position to manage something this large.

It is great that this technology is becoming a reality and has some serious potential for everyone involved. But it is in the beginning stages and has a long way to go before it can reach more than just a very small group with smartphones, who use Twitter, who choose to tell others where they visit.

~Stephanie Smith

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