Fall is a popular time for advertisers to ramp up their spending, starting with the back-to-school sales and ending with holiday shopping mania.
As more advertisers increase their use of geotargeting for ad campaigns, we’re launching a new series today to share ideas for reaching location-based audiences from the start of the school year through the end of the year.
Back-to-School Location-Based Marketing
With school just around the corner, expect advertisers to begin back-to-school campaigns any moment. Total back-to-school spend in 2021 was $32.5 million, according to Deloitte.
To find a good back-to-school audience, think about the locations that likely shoppers visit, and the products that they’ll be purchasing. Reaching a broad, yet relevant audience can be achieved by finding shoppers at malls or big box retail, such as Target and Costco. You can refine the audience by also looking back at the 2–3 week period in August before school started to build your audience from this data set.
One item frequently purchased before school begins is new shoes. The back-to-school shopping season represents a great opportunity to reach out to shoe retailers for campaigns targeting their locations, as well as their competitors.
Location-Based Advertising and Fall Sports
A Utah State University study showed that the average family spends over $2,200 each year on youth sports, collectively representing a $15B industry in the United States. It’s no surprise that sporting goods retailers, those with retail stores or ecommerce sites or both, gear up for this time of year.
From this perspective, it makes sense to work with advertisers who have physical sporting goods store locations, as well as the brands that are on their shelves. Adidas, Nike, and Mizuno, as well as smaller brands, want to reach the audience that shops at Dick’s Sporting Goods, The Athlete’s Foot, and Under Armour locations.
Seasonal Fall Events and Location-Based Audiences
As the fall season approaches, we start to see more campaigns around seasonal events such as Halloween, haunted houses, renaissance fairs, and state fairs.
There are two primary ways to find audiences for these types of campaigns. The first is to think about the demographic most likely to visit, such as college students attending haunted houses. The second approach is to build audiences based on last year’s attendees, and building lookalike audiences from that group. However, building location-based audiences from these types of locations can be a challenge, as they’re not typical “points of interest” and are not always easy to find in an audience builder—unless you can draw custom geofences around these areas.
As the season begins to shift (finally) to cooler weather, marketers adapt their campaigns and their strategies to match the time of year. It’s also a great opportunity to explore a few new campaign ideas using location-based audiences.
Cold & Flu Season Foot Traffic
Cold and flu product sales have shifted dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, common cold and flu rates were lower due to social distancing and other precautions; however, people were also more products throughout the year to manage ongoing COVID cases.
Marketers responsible for driving more foot traffic to retail locations, or tasked to help increase the sale of over-the-counter products, can use location-based marketing to reach the right audience. The first approach is to create audiences that visit the pharmacy chains such as CVS, Walgreens, and RiteAid. An additional approach is to find audiences that benefit the most from preventative cold treatment, such as senior care, retirement facilities and other at-risk groups like individuals with chronic respiratory illness.
Luxury Auto Audiences for the Holidays
Each holiday season, TV viewers and internet surfers encounter an increase in ads for luxury autos. Who wouldn’t want to get a new Lexus with a big red bow as a holiday gift? If the automotive brands in your market increase their digital ad spend during the holidays, location-based advertising is the perfect way for these brands to reach the right audience.
The most obvious approach is to build audiences visiting their own dealer lots and competitors’ locations. One technique we frequently see used is to adjust the look-back date of the historical audience to just 7 days, rather than looking back 30 days. While this decreases the size of the audience, it significantly increases its relevance. Many consumers only visit the lot after they’ve done a fair amount of research and decision-making at home. Another approach to finding a relevant audience for luxury auto shoppers is to build audiences that visit high-end retailers such as Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers, and Talbots.
Last Minute Location-Based Marketing
Even though most holiday marketing budgets are set in advance of the holidays, the occasional last-minute idea will see the light of day. Here are a few non-standard ideas for location-based marketing during the final months of the year. Help your local butcher or the Honey Baked Hams chain find their target market by reaching the audience that visited their locations last holiday season. Grocery stores also push to obtain more consumer spend, so help them with location-based marketing to win back their customers and acquire new shoppers from competitive locations.
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