From the rise of geo-targetting on Google. To the regional Tweets on Twitter to probably the fastest emerging elements, Facebook Places and of course FourSquare. So some commentators question the long-term validity of these mediums as marketing channels. Others distrust the security. Some however see these emerging channels as unique methods to undertake targetted activity of a stellar level.
In terms of geographical targeted advertising some channels are better than others. The likes of Google has constantly refined and improved its offer in its core PPC offer but also with the introduction of LBC and within their display (content) network. Facebook has placed substantial emphasis on developing its advertising platform and using the API there are numerous sophisticated targeting opportunities, not least geo-targetting. Others, at present, are a lot less sophisticated. Twitter’s advertising platform(currently in its infancy) is currently only open to a global audience, ensuring no matter how great your promotional message is, at present if your business is domiciled within a particular country, you will suffer unavoidable waste. If Twitter’s ad platform is in its infancy then, others such as Foursquare, are at best babies or even yet to be conceived.
However, the paid for advertising component is only one thread we need to investigate. The beauty of social media and the emerging opportunities are the organic methods of targetting. These organic components are released by the channel owners and brands are actively encouraged to develop or promote on them, as long as it add value to the user base. Twitter has a great site for developers and like Facebook they understand the benefit the developer community provides to their offer. So enough of my ramble, what geo-targeting, geo-tagging, location based tools are out there at the moment?
Formerly known as Google LBC (Local Business Centre) takes advantage of Googles open API on its map solution. As a business owner you can simply upload your business with its address and pin it up to Google maps. This is great, if like most people, your customers search for your locations on Google Maps. It can also integrate with your PPC. Great hygeine factor to include, but reliant on people knowing you already.
Google Geo-Targeted PPC
Google has moved a great distance in terms of its geo-targeting for PPC. Its relatively sophisticated PPC engine now allows you to target people in postcodes, towns or areas. The best part of the latest enhancements is the fact that you can define a bespoke area by placing points on a map.
Facebook Places is still at the beginning of its journey in the UK. Whilst no advertising opportunities exist, plenty of organic opportunities are available to companies. However your brand is much more likely to get referenced if you have a loyal following on Facebook.
This is one of the latest most talked about social applications. Very bascially it is a tool to ping people where you are at the moment, started out as used for places to eat but has quickly spread. Not really sure it offers much differentiation from Facebook places, but it already has a decent level of uptake.
Its only a matter of time before the sponsored elements of Twitter go regionalised. The fact you can add a location to your tweets means it will go that way. Then it is obvious targeting will become easier on the platform. At the moment, it is lagging a little behind the others.
What can you do?
So the question for marketeers has to be what can we use these tools for? Aside from the obvious distributing very regional messages, which is obviously of benefit there are other options. You could make the use of these tools by your customers feel a little viral, offering incentives to them for becoming Mayor or first to mark your location a given number of times.
You can also mark local events or openings via these mediums and minimise wastage on your promotions.
If you can operate social commerce, these mechanisms in the long-run could provide great opportunities for regional promotions, special events or even the selling of display or open-box items. You could limit who the messages and promotions are distributed to. This will not only minimise wastage and provide efficiencies on your effort, but it will reduce the likelihood of poor customer experience, when users from out of district see your promotion.
You should also reaserch the areas properly, there could be simple areas to target within established social media presences. Think local student unions, Chamber of Commerce and Sports Clubs. These are users bought in to social and their particular interest. If you can get coverage with these communities, you are likely to succeed.
Remember these mediums allow you to provide ultra targeted (based on location) communications. However, remember you have to have a reason to be present. This can be slightly different if you are using the newer advertising based modules.