5 Creative Ways Marketers Are Using Mobile Location Data

Advertising on smartphones has become the first choice for marketers because most consumers now own one, and they spend more time on them than any other device. However, perhaps most importantly, with the right technology a mobile phone can be profiled based on its current location AND from its behavioral pattern of common locations.

The terms "geo targeting" or "geo fencing" might be familiar to you - they simply mean that when a device is within a specific area, it can be targeted with ads on the web and in apps.  There are many reasons a marketer would find that valuable, including:

Knowing the location is good, but for many businesses, the percentage of people who their offer or business would be valid to is simply too small within a large group, and so other types of data have to be added to eliminate the wastage. There are many types of intent data that can be determined from a phone's location, such as:

  • multiple visits to airports in a given period of time can highlight the road warriors and frequent travelers
  • visitors to a local tourist attraction are likely in market for another second tourist attraction
  • browsers at a car showroom could be conquested by a rival dealership

Additionally, other forms of intent data can be layered on to a devices location; we particularly find significant value at FRESH in using anonymous browsing data. As an example, for our real estate clients we find just the 3.5% of individuals who are in market to buy or sell a home by tracking visits to real estate sites. We ring fence those individuals and only show ads on behalf of our advertisers when they move into their target area. (See "96.45% of a Realtor's Ad Budget is Waste")

With around 2.1 billion smartphones now in use, it’s no surprise that brands are trying to appeal to their audiences through mobile advertising.

Founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA), Asif R. Khan said in 2015 that “Location is the new cookie for the physical world.” This is something brands are taking seriously with more and more marketing strategies incorporating this increasingly accurate way of targeting consumers.

Here’s a round-up of five brands nailing location based advertising.

Whole foods

By tapping into geo-fencing, Whole Foods were able to successfully target people in close proximity to their stores and entice them away from the competition. The supermarket chain placed geofences around a number of its stores and pushed out ads and special offers to passers by. They also took this a step further by deploying geo-fences around competitor stores to tempt people to shop with them. Whole Foods saw a 4.9% post click conversion rate; over three times the average of 1.43%.


The coffee giant has been using geo targeting for a number of years now, sending push notifications to smartphone users close to its cafes. What’s key for this one is that rather than measuring click through rate, Starbucks measured the success through ‘store visitation lift.’ The coffee chain reported a 100 percent uplift in visitation following the implementation of the ads.


Ticketmaster’s advertising is a great example of audience segmentation. By using geographical location and user history, the company segments push notifications; sending more personalised offers and ads to its target audience. This targeted strategy has resulted in a much higher conversion rate. Ticketmaster proved that when a brand has a wide audience, it is important to break it down and ensure that ads and offers are specifically tailored.

Montana Bureau of Tourism

Using user history, the Montana Bureau of Tourism targeted users who had previously visited ski areas and shops and therefore likely to be interested in visiting the ski resort in Montana. These consumers were targeted with ads showing spectacular photos of winter in Montana. It was a unique campaign as not only did it incorporate geo-fencing but also used location histories to build comprehensive user profiles. This enabled the campaign to more accurately identify appropriate consumers and, in turn, saw a return of $6.9 Million on an investment of $25,000.

How would you use local mobile advertising to promote your business? Come say hi and we can help you work it out.

Dax Hamman