Multi-Location Advertising in the Mobile Age: A New BIA/Kelsey Insight Paper

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In local media and advertising, “National” is increasingly where it’s at. Though paradoxical in a semantic sense, it stands to reason if you consider the deeper pockets and more technologically adaptive nature of national brands, compared to SMBs.

This is especially true for multi-location businesses such as chain restaurants or retail. Though they’re national in scale, they compete at the local level where conversions happen. We’ve reported that national brand spending will represent 43 percent of location based advertising by 2018.

This involves an evolving set of campaign components including mobile, social, search, listings management, etc.. These strategies are are endemic to local marketing but take unique forms for the nuances of multi-location businesses and how they’re oriented.

We’ve covered this “National” area of local marketing for years but began to formalize that coverage last year. Now we’re blitzing the topic even more, with the upcoming National conference in March in Dallas. And today’s white paper is the latest.

The report’s executive summary is below and BIA/Kelsey clients can read the entire thing by logging into the client portal. Anyone else interested in the full report, please email me (mbolandATbiakelsey.com).

Executive Summary

Smart phones now account for 75 percent of mobile subscriptions according to BIA/Kelsey. Stemming from their evolving capabilities (i.e. location awareness, connectivity, optics), location targeted mobile advertising continues its rapid ascent. BIA/Kelsey projects it to reach $19 billion in the U.S. this year.

Google supports these findings, reporting that 80 percent of smartphone owners search for local information, and 80 percent of those users want ads customized to their locale. Moreover, 73 percent of mobile searches result in conversions (such as calling a business). Half of those happen within one hour.

BIA/Kelsey forecast data and insights likewise indicate that mobile users are “high intent” customers who often have a sense of immediacy (read: ready to buy). Correspondingly, mobile ad networks confirm performance deltas — such as higher click through rates and phone calls — for location targeted ads.

But the emergence of mobile has also made advertising more complex as the technology and consumer behavior evolve. For example, advertisers’ affinity for proof of ROI and attribution is technically difficult when consumer decision-making happens across several devices including desktop, tablet and mobile.

This challenge is amplified for national companies that must align brand messages with local presence. Those localized entities include retail partners, franchisees, distributors, and affiliates. This makes it difficult to achieve consistent messaging and service levels across geographically disparate entities.

These challenges are highlighted by the size of the market opportunity: National brand spending will represent 43 percent of location based advertising by 2018 according to BIA/Kelsey. That’s about $68 billion — an amount that makes multi-location marketing strategies increasingly critical.

Some of the areas where these strategies will focus include social media, listings management, ratings and reviews, search engine optimization, and of course, mobile. This report examines each of these areas and their impact on multi-location advertising in the mobile age.

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