5+ Hottest Trends in Mobile Marketing 🔥

A few weeks back, one of our customers asked us for our insight on what are the biggest trends in mobile marketing right now. We jumped right for the task, and involved the whole office in a brainstorming session. With a user base of 3300, we have daily conversations with developers and marketers on their projects and new ideas. Even though there is still a lot of experimentation going on in terms of content and methods, we can see some trends starting to form. Our focus in in location-based marketing, which IS one of the biggest trends. The list we compiled consists of 5 biggest currents in location-based marketing + 3 extra points outside of our focus area.  We wanted to share this nugget of information with you, along with some tips for what it could mean for your advertising campaigns.

1. Push Marketing Campaigns – Beyond the Bananas

When the buzz about iBeacons started in 2013, the first example use case was the “ability to advertise bananas, when someone is passing the fruit aisle”. We have thankfully gone past that step, and moved more towards understanding the entire context, where the user is at. For example, Uber has started advertising for its app at sporting events, bars and concerts. (source)

Their advertising is clever in two ways. First, it is targeted to a location, where people are typically in need of a drive. Secondly, it is also connected to a location where people are generally using a lot of time on their phone taking photos, posting updates on social media or in generally browsing their apps while waiting for the event to start.

Tip: This type of localization is already familiar to us from the physical world, for example the ads for diarrheal pills on airport toilet doors.  In mobile the physical locations are not limited to where you can purchase a piece of wall or furniture where you can stick a sticker, and only your imagination is the limit. A couple of examples could be ads for financial loans, when you enter a car shop – or a notification advertising for life insurance, when you are waiting for taking a bungee jump. Or if we want to go back to the fruit aisle example, why not advertise for a blender?

2. Taking advantage of Data – Understanding Behavior

A further understanding of the context and audience to which the advertisement is sent to can be gained through filtrating into the historical background of the situation. Is the person there for the first time? Have they been in similar places before? Have they maybe visited one of your competitors? There are terms we are familiar with from the world on online marketing and your browsing history, but how does it translate to real-life scenarios.

One interesting case study is from New York, where L’Oreal utilized historical location data for formulating audience personas. They started collecting information about the individuals who visited events relating to fashion and beauty around the city, and used this audience for targeting advertisement around their L’Oreal Beauty Days and related discounts in nearby stores. The results were incredible – 5x the Click Through Rate of standard L’Oreal digital campaigns, and 53% increase in sales attributed with the campaign. What makes the data very interesting is that 12% of people participating in the campaign were men. (source)

Tip: Where does your audience attend often ? People dropping by furniture shops have probably just moved to a new apartment . Frequent airport visitors are likely to have a high-paying business position. People going to gyms are interested in their health. You could even note when people visit exhibition halls, compare the data with what events are going on there, and get deeper insight in their interests. For more information on how to utilize Proximi.io tags for audience insights, check out this page.

3. Personalizing Content – Going deeper in the apps

Location-based features are definitely not limited to push notifications. Targeted content in banner ads and other in-app content can still have significantly higher interaction rates than standard advertisements, with an even better user experience. You could tailor a banner, content box or the entire outlook of the app based on where in the world it is being browsed.

One important reason for why you should be doing this is the fact that almost 60% of shoppers look up product information and prices with their mobile phone, when they are inside the store.  A full research can be found on RetailDIVE website. How can you make sure that this audience does not find better service with better prices somewhere else?

Tip: Have your app show different content to people nearby different branches or units. For example, a cinema app could show the films airing at the theatre next to you. If you detect that someone is browsing your app inside your store, make sure they get all the help they need through that channel. Show them floor plans of your store, hyper-targeted dressing tips (based on their physical location in the store) and ability to call for help in real life from store personnel.

4. New Proximity Industries

The sector embracing location-based advertising fastest and most visibly is definitely retail. Recently, we have seen new industries, such as car finance and real estate getting interested in proximity advertising. One example is an app called Homnia that collects leads from app users based on their visits at locations on sale, and provides the visitors coupons to nearby stores in return. Also within the retail sector, we are seeing interest moving to old-fashioned fields, such as car dealerships and hardware stores.

Tip: Like we’ve talked about in the previous examples, understanding the context (both current and past) is not something limited to retail stores. In many fields purchases are done rarely, and finding the optimal time for swaying their mind can be difficult. For example, changing your phone carrier is not something you do every week, not even every year. Someone who has just been at a large concert may have been irritated with not getting phone signal, and may be tempted to switch their phone carrier. Or when someone is stuck in traffic, they may be more tempted to start using public transport.

5. Taking the Service approach

Content advertising works also for mobile. In best case, advertising doesn’t even feel like you are being sold to, but feel like you get special service. Examples of this include giving free access to premium services at selected locations, or asking for feedback, when you are stepping out of a venue. Even a standard advertisement can feel like a service, if it is very personalized to you and the physical location. For example, PintPlease is an app for beer lovers, that you can use for rating the beers you taste. The app starts learning about your preferences, and next time you enter a bar, it can give you a recommendation for what to taste.  Excellent way to stay relevant, without being too pushy.

Tip: Think creatively about how you could maximize the benefit for the app user. If you are a newspaper with paid premium content, offering it for free at train stations could be great value. Or if we think again about the fruit aisle – why not send the user a recipe for a banana cake?

Bonus picks:

+ Native marketing

Following on the topic of giving the users something useful to digest, an upcoming force is native marketing. Advertising that takes the form of a standard article can be a win-win situation for the reader, who gets a good read with inspiration, and the advertiser, who gets bring his product’s benefits to a wider audience. Our favourite: Read Peak.

+ Cross-device targeting

Reaching the same user across multiple device in different contexts brings you multiplied engagement opportunities. Keep in mind the different ways each of the devices is being used (phone for quick check-ups or while traveling, tablets for entertainment and desktop/laptop computer for longer periods of work). Cross-device sphere was made a lot more interesting last year, when Google rolled out its full cross-device support.

+ Smart watches?

As a last bonus point, we want to raise the question of smart watches. With the Apple Watch Series 3 launch, with the first self-standing smart watch from a large brand, it will be interesting to see, how the smart watch will be adopted by users and marketers. Hyper-locality will be definitely one of the key aspects in embracing the medium that is always visible to you.

To sum up our lengthy blog post, mobile advertising is moving more towards a holistic view of the person and the situation. Instead of bombarding as many users as possible, the ads are honed into bullets, aimed exactly to you at that moment. In terms of utilizing location, the whole world is your playground. Instead of the typical “buy-me-now” advertisements, the advertising is more about providing added value bot to the advertiser and the user.


  • Hi Annina,

    This was a very interesting article.

    I’m wanting to use your software to create basic real estate geofencing applications. One application might be for agents who “farm for property sellers”
    in certain parts of town that they normally send mailers to. Instead of sending a flyer or mailer, the neighborhood residents could receive a monthly text or banner ad from the real estate agent. Maybe another application could be if a real estate buyer is at a New Home Development Area, the buyer could receive a text or banner ad with a message from the real estate agent asking them if they have agent representation.

    Is this easy to implement?

    • Kalle says:

      Hi Kevin, a very interesting idea! That would be possible, but only if the person had a mobile app downloaded to their phones that would have our software or other geofencing software integrated into the app. If you have an idea of building a specific mobile application for this type of solution, then our software could provide some value to the mobile app!

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