How location-based advertising is reshaping marketing at events


When tens of thousands of fans gather next month in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup championship, they can expect to be met with messaging from hundreds of global brands as they stroll the sun-drenched streets of Rio de Janeiro and 11 other host cities. But if the most recent Super Bowl is any indication, that messaging is going to come straight to their hands.

In February the National Football League inaugurated a new era of advertising when it distributed wireless transmitters around Times Square and at MetLife Stadium in New York to deliver location-based, personalized ads and Super Bowl information to nearby users.

The transmitters, known as beacons, were used to send a variety of targeted football-themed brand messages to smartphone-toting tourists, including store sales and entry gate locations, via a special NFL Mobile application. The platform offered an unprecedented level of granularity to marketing efforts and is helping to revolutionize the way advertisers relate to roving crowds.

The FIFA World Cup is being touted as one of the largest ad games in the world. And while there is no word yet of NFL-style beacons being deployed by FIFA, brands will be using targeted ads to engage attending fans in real time. Some companies are already ramping up location-based advertising in their home countries ahead of the tournament.

Meanwhile, telecommunications firms are projected to spend more than $1.3 billion upgrading Brazil’s telecom infrastructure to prepare for the event.

For those looking to get in on the action, the two most critical aspects of marketing for events like the World Cup are mobility and personalization. With people on the move, the key is geo-targeting.

According to a new report from Research and Markets, the value of global real-time mobile location-based advertising (LBA) will reach $10.7 billion by 2018, a compound annual growth rate of 54%.  By then geo-targeted advertising will account for nearly 40% of all mobile advertising and will represent 7% of all digital advertising spending.

Brands should start laying the groundwork well ahead of the June 12 start date if they hope to join the World Cup bonanza. Start by finding the right technology to support your effort.  A number of carriers offer location-specific ad platforms, targeted messaging to national brands in a range of sectors.

Follow up with campaigns that augment customer experience and allow customers to opt in or out. And be sure to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of check-ins, the referrals generated via other social media, comments and photos shared.  The numbers show that an investment today in geo-targeted advertising will pay off big in the future, even if you’re not planning on being in sunny Brazil this June.

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