A trend that I do not see going away anytime soon is the trend of personalization. A good portion of products today offer some degree of personalization. Whether that’s the colors available or stickers and decals that they can place onto the product, consumers love customizing their purchases. So why are we still not personalizing our advertisements?
Once upon a time, that was a ridiculous proposal. Personalizing advertisements? That would require an extremely large amount of data for every single person that could interact with the advertisement. It was much more cost-effective to see out blanket advertisements based on a specific demographic. I think it’s hard to visualize just how much information advertisers would have to gather for not only the people who consume their product, but for the people who would only spare the advertisement a seconds glance and then move on. Because if we’re truly trying to personalize advertisements for everyone, it would have to be for both regular consumers and everyone who isn’t and is never going to be a consumer of that product. That’s a lot of data.
But now, that information is there and available for anyone who knows how to find it. Information on people’s past purchases and how they paid for it, information on what catches their eye and why that particular object caught their attention, and where people go, when. It probably isn’t feasible to imagine advertisements that physically change depending on who is looking at the advertisement, as I don’t believe we have that technology yet. But what we do have, is the ability to personalize advertisements based on a persons location.
As Jack Simpson stated in his article titled What is location-based advertising & why is it the next big thing?, most of us quite happily share our location data with the apps on our smartphones, which is a perfect opportunity for advertisers. Simpson presents us with two situations: one, where an ad appears on our phone for a discount at H&M even though there isn’t an H&M for one hundred miles. Two, you’re walking down Oxford Street, and an ad appears for the Oxford Street branch two doors down from your location. Which one are you more likely to pay attention to? When advertisements are tailored to your location, consumers are much more likely to not only pay attention to the ad itself, but to take action based on what the ad said.
A real-life example that Simpson details was when Starbucks used location-based ads in 2014. They measured how many people walked into a store after seeing an ad targeted based on their location. According to Starbucks, people were 100% more likely to enter a store after receiving a location-based advertisement.
Chirag Kulkarni offers another side to geolocation marketing; using predictive analysis to offer consumers advertisements based on their routines before they even leave their house. Location data could be applied to analyzing consumer behavioral patterns in order to send them personalized advertisements based on what they like to do at the locations they visit, rather than just where they go. For example, if they often visit somewhere that has rough terrain, they would be sent ads for hiking boots.
There is almost no limit to what marketers can do with the location data that consumers have granted access to through their smartphones and other devices. Sending targeted ads based on location is only the beginning of this next age of advertisements. Maybe the days of ads physically changing based on consumer preferences isn’t that far off after all.