You may have noticed Pokémon GO players and the game's characters popping up all over the place lately -- at famous landmarks, public events, even inside local businesses.
The launch of the mobile game last July represented not only a runaway success in the United States, considering that the game has already reached a $70 million monthly run rate, but something more: Pokéman GO is also proving the power of location-based features in mobile apps.
Mobile games first started using geolocation in 2011, but most were considered niche-market, and none cracked the top 10 for popularity -- that is, until Pokémon GO, which reached No. 7 on the U.S. iPhone chart within days of its release.
The app’s almost instantaneous popularity illustrates the public’s enthusiasm and willingness to embrace mobile apps that utilize location tracking. How can startups capitalize on this phenomenon? They can incorporate location initiatives into their mobile-marketing strategies, especially when they target the coveted millennial generation.
Viral brand-building drives revenue.
According to Pew Research, 92 percent of 18- to 34-year-old Americans own smartphones. More broadly, more than 70 percent of all Americans are smartphone owners, and they tend to be more highly educated and have higher incomes.
So, setting up a mobile marketing campaign to reach these individuals makes good sense for startup founders and emerging entrepreneurs, especially as smartphone conversion rates have increased 64 percent over desktop rates. But, to better meet the ever-changing expectations of mobile consumers, startups should consider using geolocation features to improve the flow of compelling content and increase revenue.
Here are three ways to work incorporate mobile location features into your own marketing strategy:
1. Make content and ads location-based.
Location-based advertisements are not new, but they keep growing and present lucrative opportunities for startups. Spending on location-targeted mobile ads is expected to increase nearly 30 percent -- up from $9.8 billion last year to $29.5 billion in 2020.
Location-based, tailored content can drive business in a number of ways, such as by capitalizing on local weather forecasts. Take a cue from Claritin, which has the highest brand loyalty among over-the-counter allergy medications. The company sends a daily pollen-level outlook and other allergen-related information based on the locations of customers who sign up for its emails.
You too can take a more localized approach to advertising by using location history to build an audience profile and then targeting ads to those demographics. Use geolocation capabilities, for example, to combine multilingual ads and direct customers to the closest locations. On surveys, 72 percent of participating customers have said they are likely to respond to notifications they receive from a brand when they’re near one of its locations.
2. Recognize the power of mobile to fuel in-store revenue.
Startups need to recognize that mobile platforms can generate in-store revenue, and tools like PlaceIQ, Cintric, and Attribution Powered by Foursquare can help.
Customers use mobile devices to connect with brands and businesses on many levels. They may not always make a purchase, but will often use mobile to look up contact information for a company or to download its app -- and any interaction is good for business, as last year mobile influenced about $1 trillion in sales.
The Estimated Total Conversions tool in Google AdWords can help measure your digital spend as it occurs on mobile and desktop platforms, as well as on-site, in-app and even in-store.
Remember that people use multiple mobile devices in their daily lives, and this information can help you identify which channels to invest in. Shutterfly, for example, used AdWords to measure cross-device conversions and began enabling all keywords for mobile, leading to a 15 percent increase in digital conversions in less than a year.
To avoid simply measuring app downloads in order to reward high-value app users, offer useful content that actually drives sales. Sephora’s new Pocket Contour app, for example, lets users digitally apply makeup to a selfie and then directs them to the real-life products at the retailer.
3. Use location to adapt to an on-demand economy.
Improve your customers’ lives by using location to deliver convenience. Using location as context, you can determine the simplest, most relevant solution for your customer. For example, consider whether customers need delivery or want in-store pickup or whether your local representatives are in their area.
These opportunities impact every business, from retail to services, and manufacturing to B2B. Aspects to consider when you determine the best solution include: Do customers need delivery? Is local pickup an option? Do you have a local representative in the area who can discuss customers' needs with them in person?
Customers are increasingly responsive to get-it-now options when it comes to online purchases, whether they’re made via mobile or desktop. The Gap Inc., for instance, recently began offering customers the option to reserve items and to receive a notification when they are ready to pick up at the store.
Making the most of micro-moments
Instead of lamenting all the ways the internet -- and, specifically, mobile access to it -- is changing human behavior, you have a historic opportunity to adapt to these changes and take advantage of them to contribute to your own company’s growth.
This strategic opportunity is tied to the way mobile is rewiring the brain to process and thrive in a matter of moments -- micro-moments even. Younger generation consumers are extremely adept at processing information quickly and making efficient decisions.
In the future, successful businesses that use mobile-location features in novel ways will increase their chances of providing relevant information and solutions to their customers in these micro-moments. What will you do to become the leader of one of those successful businesses?