Could the Future of Mobile Ads Lie in Apple's Location Services?

Posted on February 26th 2014

Could the Future of Mobile Ads Lie in Apple's Location Services?

Location based advertising is nothing new. Google offer it, Foursquare have a fairly robust offering, and even mobile operators such as O2 have tried to jump in on the act. Apple offer iAds, but in my own experience, they’ve never been relevant to me, let alone my location.

In conjunction with content marketing, mobile and location-based marketing is a priority focus for all marketers and brands in 2014. We’ve all seen the statistics saying that mobile usage is increasing, and that ad spend on mobile rising with it, but how well are brands hard-earned marketing dollars being spent? In my opinion, not as well as they could be, and that is purely down to there not being a robust enough location-based ad model in place yet. And that, is where I believe Apple can come in.

Anyone who’s played around with their location and privacy settings on their phone may well have noticed that Apple, by default, track your location, and are in fact, able to show you exactly how long you’ve been at a certain place for. Looking at the below screenshot from my phone, through ‘frequent locations’, Apple is able to track exactly where I’ve been in a certain area over the last month or so, in this case, my office, a meeting, and lunch in Camden.

Frequent Locations

Now this is where the opportunity for Apple could lie. Brands are always going to be looking for a way to get in front of consumers and get them buy their product or service ahead of others, so why shouldn’t they be able to do that when I’m at a certain location? Pairing with push technology on mobiles, Apple could offer a service similar to Twitter alerts or Foursquare notifications. From a consumer point of view, the ability to receive a relevant notification telling my that something is available within walking distance, would be very welcome.

There are endless opportunities for brands to engage with this, it’s just for Apple to open up the opportunity. For example, think about when you’re on the morning commute, browsing the internet and you see something you like. A notification sent to you when you’re in work, telling you that it’s in stock a 5 minute walk away would be much more relevant than being shown ads for the product repeatedly every time you log on to the web browser. And if you don’t want the product, simply dismiss the ad, something you can rarely do in browser.

Many ideas similar to this, are already in place. Foursquare for example do deliver some very relevant ads, but far, far too few – never thought you’d hear a consumer say that did you. Where Apple hold the trump cards here is audience size in comparison. With there soon to be more mobile devices then people on the planet, and iOS holding a 13.2% market share, that’s approximately an audience size of 1bn users. Compare that to Foursquare’s 45m+ users and you’ve got one hell of a potential audience.

The opportunity is certainly there for Apple. Whether it’s a case of not being able to partner with clients, or the potential negative brand impact when people realise exactly what is being done with their location data that’s preventing them, that’s another question. Either way though, I wouldn’t rule Apple out of making a big splash in the mobile ad market just yet.

willpscott

Will Scott

24 year old online/social media ad man. A self confessed geek, my Twitter bio sums me up - Lover of good food & red wine. All views are mine, and not that of any company.

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