Brands Buy Real-Time Mobile Ads Based on the Weather

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Location based mobile advertising is proving to be increasingly popular with advertisers as they discover the additional value it brings to both themselves and customers.

In a recent interview with AdWeek, Ace Harware’s marketing director, Jeff Gooding, explained how location based mobile ads have become a success with his company. Recently they tested the performance by pitching products like shovels after snowstorms, based on location data, and now plan to mimic this with garden products once spring time comes.

“We want to reach folks in real time and help them deal with the weather as it’s coming,” said Mr. Gooding. “The idea of helping has traditionally been part of our brand, and it’s becoming a part of our mobile strategy.”

In a similar attempt to reach customer at the right time and in the right place, Taco Bell ran a mobile ad campaign on the TWC app (Twitter and The Weather Channel) only when local temperatures exceeded 48 degrees, as they only wanted to purchase inventory when their customers were likely to be outside looking for a bite to eat.

“This is a new tactic for us. For the right products, like food, it makes a ton of sense.” said Eric Perko, associate media director at Digitas, Taco Bell’s digital agency.

Indeed, for the restaurants niche in particular, mobile may finally be fulfilling its long-held promise of digitizing old advertising staples like roadside marquees and sidewalk chalkboards. In an extreme weather-related example, Andrew Rosenberg, marketing director for New York eatery The Meatball Shop, nimbly authored a post on his brand’s Foursquare account five months ago to let customers know when his Hurricane Sandy-rattled business would reopen.

“A lot of them without power couldn’t get on their computers but still had juice in their phones,” said Rosenberg. “The minute we opened our doors again, people started coming in.”

Contextual ads based on location, weather, and behavior, are clearly on the rise due to their proven effectiveness, so expect to see increased innovation and development in this area.

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