This post is from Tom MacIsaac is the CEO of Verve Wireless, the largest local mobile ad network in the US.
Mobile is local. Mobile devices are inherently local tools. Not exclusively – no doubt people use their smartphones for all sorts of things that they might also do on a wired computer at home or at work – but more and more we are seeing data that enforces the intuitive idea that people use their phones when they are “out and about”, “on the go” interacting with the world around them.
Since I’ve been in the digital media and marketing space (more than 15 years), this “online/ offline” “bricks and clicks” “web meets world” nirvana for marketers has been more myth than reality. But, good things often take time and this one is coming around. The intersection of local and mobile will be one of the real “sweet spots” in digital marketing over the next 5 years.
It makes sense. We often use our smartphones when we need information that is immediate and proximate. Google says that 40% of mobile searches are for local information. Miscrosoft says 53%. Content consumption in mobile is different than wired and what stands out is the consumption of local information on mobile devices – top content catagories in mobile are news, restaurant/going out sources, weather, maps/navigation, sports and other inherently local content categories.
Google calls them “local information seekers” and they are highle valuable consumers to marketers because they are out and about in their local communities and engaged with contextually relevant content and inclined to act on the information they are consuming – in other words, marketers can reach them closer to the buying decision than ever before. See the selected data from Google/ Ipsos study “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” April 2011 as well as Microsoft’s local mobile search stat in the following slide.
Local will Dominate Mobile Ad Spend
If mobile and local have an inherent affinity in consumer usage, ad spend should follow. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that BIA Kelsey recently reported that almost 70% of total mobile ad spend will be local by 2015. Kelsey defines local as geo-targeted ads that may include local copy and/or calls to action (call, map, address of nearest location).
Much of this growth will come from national advertisers who are recognising that locally targeted campaigns and messaging are particularly effective in mobile since they are catching people’s attention when they are looking for information and connecting with the world around them and often near geographic points of sale. With all the growth in ecommerce, 96% of retail sales still occur in stores in the real world within a 30 minute drive of home (2010 US Dept of Commerce). By targeting people on mobile devices with real-world messaging and information, brand advertisers are getting closer to closing the loop.
And the converse is true too . . . .
Mobile will Dominate Local Digital Spend
So, really, no matter how you slice it, you come out in the same place. While the above data from Kelsey looks at how local as a category will dominate the overall mobile spend, the slide below from Borrell shows how mobile as a category will dominate the overall local spend. How will SMB’s spend their digital ad dollars? Based on the this, they will spend it on mobile – and at the expense of online.
Like I said, mobile is local.