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Walmart uses location-based targeting to create more accurate audience segments

Walmart achieved a significant increase in store visitation lift using both proximity and audience targeting for its Savings Catcher mobile application, according to new data released today by the Mobile Marketing Association.

Walmart, Denny?s and Goodwill all achieved big jumps in customer store visits by leveraging audience targeting, a strategy underpinned by mobile location data, with Denny?s and Goodwill achieving 35 percent and 43 percent increases respectively with their audience-targeting programs, according to the report. The results point to why audience targeting is expected to explode in popularity in coming years due to its ability yield a high lift in store visitation.

?For many major brands, the use of audience targeting is still a fairly new tactic, yet one that is predicted to explode in popularity in the coming years due to its ability to yield an incredibly high lift in store visitation, particularly when used in combination with more common proximity targeting tactics such as geo-fencing,? said Sheryl Daijia, chief strategy officer with the Mobile Marketing Association.

?Marketers will use location-based audiences to get a richer understanding of users on mobile by analyzing the historical location patterns of the devices people own and use.?

Rich profiles
The MMA?s report says the results show how location-based targeting is no longer just a tool for in the moment targeting but a way to leverage vast contextual information to create rich audience profiles. 
Leveraging vast contextual information.

This enables brands to strategically target consumers at specific points in their day, not just when they are within close proximity of a brand?s store or restaurant. 

For Walmart, audience and proximity targeting were used to engage consumers based on their location ? historic or real time. With that in mind, mobile advertising was served to consumers on their devices at the same time they were consuming mobile content.

For audience targeting, the audience was defined as ?anyone who had been to a Walmart store in the past, regardless of where they were when they saw the ad.?

For proximity targeting, consumers crossed a predefined geofence in real time that triggered the ad.

?For Walmart we worked with a company that helped us track the actual location of people and see how many of them went to Walmart following exposure to mobile location ads,? Ms. Daijia said.

The results follow the MMA?s release in February of report on how major brands were using location data for purposes beyond targeting consumers at a particular moment in time. Marketers leveraged location data to build much more comprehensive audience segments, which could be used to target consumers in a wide array of mobile campaign scenarios, according to the report produced by the MMA on behalf of the MMA NA Location Committee Audience Working Group.
Titled, ?Using Location for Audience Targeting?, the paper revealed how user location and place data wasevolving from a tool used primarily for ?in the moment? targeting, to an essential component in the creation of accurate audience segments. 

Sharpening the outreach on mobile.

While location data has already proven to be an invaluable resource in reaching customers at a particular place and time, marketers are quickly realizing its value in creating comprehensive audience segments for other mobile targeting purposes, particularly when paired with app, household, purchase and publisher data.
Given its unparalleled ability to tell marketers where consumers have been, where they are, and where they are likely to return, location data has become an essential mobile marketing tool.

Incorporating location data into the development of audience segments enables marketers to build a much more accurate and timely picture of the consumers they?re targeting, ultimately resulting in significantly better campaign return on investment.
Traditionally, audiences have been derived from observed mobile usage, search and browsing history, or household data. While this static data can be helpful for reaching consumers at home, location-based data enables brands to reach potential customers at any time, as they move from place to place. 

Dynamic audiences
Location data is also helpful in building more dynamic audiences because it takes into account the powerful context of where a user has been, something online and household data lacks.

Developing a story of who, in addition to where.

?Geo-behavioral patterns can indicate demographics such as age, gender, race and income, behavioral/psychographic traits ? for instance, travel, dining habits, shopping behavior, brands and retail locations frequented - and geographic data ? areas that the user spends time,? Ms. Daijia said.  

?In that sense, applying this data can help marketers develop a story of who, in addition to where, and this can have a significant impact on mobile performance ? that is, SVL and as a result, campaign ROI.? 

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York