CircleTie mobile location based services and advertisingCircleTie is a location based services company leveraging mobile and the internet to deliver great interactive experiences to consumers and targeted, location based advertising opportunities to advertisers. It is a solution for now and the future. Yet most advertisers don’t really “get it”.

I joined the board of CircleTie in June of 2012. (see video above or below). Since then I’ve gained quite a bit of new experience with the mobile media. I’ve seen how location based advertisement paired with behavioral targeting has delivered amazing returns to a few brands in Egypt.

But I have also listened in disbelief when advertisers and their agencies have been arguing why mobile advertising solutions such as CircleTie currently aren’t relevant to include in their mix of advertisement channels.

These are advertisers and agencies whom claim to be at the forefront of our industry, yet are running their advertisement activities based on ancient beliefs where reach and quantity, not quality and targeting, seems to be front and center.

Before you read my thoughts, please play the video here first

First, let’s review some the advantages of mobile location based advertising and targeting

Advertising based on location and behavior through mobile platformsMobile advertising comes in many shapes and forms. From the typical banner advertisements you will see in thousands of applications downloaded to a smartphone – to push notifications triggered by – for example – the location of the recipient. The latter is still in its infancy in terms of usage – particularly in Europe and North America where data privacy and permission concerns are prevalent.

But there is no denying that targeting advertisements to the mobile device using location to trigger the advertisement is highly efficient. But location is only one component of a successful mobile advertising campaign.

Other important components of successful mobile advertising are; permission, profiling, behavioral targeting, recency and frequency. I think that advertisers need to think about all of these components when deciding how to leverage the opportunities offered by mobile advertising.

Let me discuss these in brief below.

Buzz word or not, relevancy is also hugely important in mobile marketing

. For example a location based automotive advertisement sent to a teenager is very relevant. But displaying an offer for a movie relevant to teenagers, is much more likely to be received as a compelling and interesting offer by that individual.

So when we talk about relevancy and permission as a whole, we know that even if a consumer is not completely aware of having given permission to receive advertisements, as long as the offer is relevant and compelling, the consumer is less likely to see that location based advertisement as intrusive. There is a clear correlation between relevancy and privacy.

Keeping that in mind, would it then be fair to say that we can overcome concerns about permission and intrusiveness by increasing relevancy of the advertisement or notification displayed?

I think that is a fair assessment. And that is why location based mobile advertising is working so well. But displaying advertisements to random audiences just because they happen to be in a certain locality is only part of the equation.

Behavioral targeting is powerful – on the mobile as well as on the internet

Mobile marketing behavioral targetingBehavioral targeting is another important component. This is where it gets more interesting. Location based services such as CircleTie in Cairo, Alexandria and five other cities in MENA, and Pring in Pakistan, are able to target advertising messages or notifications based on a users behavior. Both of these solutions will only display promotional messages to users whom have given permission to do so.

Behavioral targeting is very powerful since these advertisements are triggered based on the users current and real-time behavior within, for example, an application. Or can be based on past behavior paired with a current event.

McDonalds ran a campaign in Cairo where certain notifications or advertising messages were displayed directly within the CircleTie application to CircleTie users searching for “fast food”. This is a good example of an advanced advertising campaign where the display of the advertising message was based on both behavior, but also location of the user. As you may have guessed, the response rate was very high.

So what about frequency and recency?

Frequency and recency are important components of targeting advertising messages to mobile users. Frequency should be part of the targeting tactics since users whom frequently interact with advertising messages typically are much more receptive, and as such are more likely to respond. My gut feeling tells me that these users also are the most likely users to share your content and advertisements.

How many users have been active in the past 30 days? Are advertisers asking the right questions?

mobile platforms and applications leak users by the millionsRecency should also be part of the targeting tactics, or segmentation if you will. A user whom have been active within the platform or mobile environment recently, is also more likely to respond to any advertisement today.

When advertisers gauge which mobile platforms they should engage with, the question should never be “how many users do you have”, but “how many of your users have been active in the past 30 days”.

For example, CircleTie has around 60.000 users in Cairo, but obviously not all of these users were active in the past 30 days. But unlike traditional media, the advertising model offered by platforms such as CircleTie take that into account in their payment model. Advertisers pay for what they get.

So why do I say that advertisers and their agencies are getting it wrong?

advertisers are lazy and old fashionedEasy ! Advertisers seem to be more lazy than most people. They prefer big numbers because big numbers means less work and less head ache. So for that reason they take preference for media that offers them a huge audience, regardless of the efficiency of these media outlets.

Mobile advertising and location based advertising in particular is not about big numbers. It is all about reaching the right audience at the right time with the right message. That is likely to involve work related to planning, creative, production, reporting/measurement and improvement.

But evenso the numbers I have seen are a clear testament to mobile advertising and mobile location based advertising being a highly efficient way of reaching marketing objectives. But only – of course – if advertisers are concerned about Return on Marketing Investment.

Sadly in the MENA region that seems to be limited to only the most professional advertisers. As a board member of CircleTie I hope that I will be able to sway more advertisers to understand exactly how to do their job better in this new era of LOMOSO – Local Mobile Social.