Call Genie at DDL: Location Relevance the Key to Mobile Search

Today at DDL, Call Genie Director of Product Evolution Gary Galinsky pegged the lineup of mobile ad formats (SMS, pre-roll audio, post-roll audio, banner, etc.) as “interruption marketing.”

The only way to skirt this is relevance, and like real estate, he says, the greatest source of relevance in mobile is “Location, Location, Location.” In mobile search, location comes ahead of primary decision drivers in other media, such as brand and price.

“Even if I’m a loyal Starbuck’s customer, if there is a Tully’s closer, I’ll opt for that,” he says. The point is well taken but probably loses credence the further away one gets from commodity products (coffee).

Location is also gaining importance as more and more mobile devices are equipped with location awareness including GPS, cell tower triangulation, cell site ID, Wi-Fi ID, etc. More importantly, the way we communicate should be taken into consideration in the way that mobile search content and ads are indexed and served.

“We don’t communicate by address; we reference things based on landmarks,” he says, pointing out that directions you give friends and family will generally involve at least one “take a left at the water tower” or something similar. People are also naturally inclined to search for local businesses using terms like “near SFO” (San Francisco Airport).

How to approach this problem from a data standpoint is one issue, and companies such as Urban Mapping are working to better index mapping data based on local colloquialisms (albeit, more in the online mapping arena).

Galinsky’s vision also reminds of the important challenge of natural language search. This is something that will be a major area of development in online search, and is at the heart of the semantic Web, coined already by some as “Web 3.0” (sigh).

Given a big move toward multimodal search and the fact that the mobile device is, after all, a phone, natural language processing will be as important in mobile as anywhere else.

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