customer acquisition

The Latest Hyperlocal Advertising Options Driving New Customers to Retailers

Hyperlocal advertising options

As commerce continues to become more global and anonymous, it’s nice to know your butcher, your baker and your candlestick maker. Local businesses serve the neighborhoods in which they reside, representing the fabric of that community. For these businesses, nationwide – even citywide – advertising is not effective; they need to attract customers who live in their neighborhood who will help their business thrive in the community. This is possible with hyperlocal ads – ads that target customers who live around the block instead of on the other side of the city.

The term “hyperlocal” has become synonymous with the combined use of mobile applications and GPS technology. It enables merchants to run advertising campaigns and marketing programs that target people in a geographic area as small as a city block.

For brick-and-mortar retailers, new hyperlocal advertising solutions, like the one Facebook launched last week and Belly's customer acquisition tool Bites, are key to building a loyal customer base. These new solutions drive foot traffic that can lead to real sales and they’re making advertising easier and more effective for small business merchants.

For example, Facebook’s local awareness tool allows brick-and-mortar businesses to target ads to anyone who lives nearby or who was recently within a specific distance of their store. If I’m being honest, the idea of walking down Main Street browsing my Facebook feed and being served a relevant ad for a business within feet of me is effective and creepy. But with over 1 billion mobile users and desktop users who volunteer their current city, Facebook has the data to make hyperlocal ads a possibility for merchants.

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{Image credit: Facebook}

By adding mobile location data, businesses can deliver contextually relevant campaigns. They can also include a ‘get directions’ button on the ad that will drive customers to their map app on their mobile device, showing them exactly where to go to redeem the offer.

Another localized tool giving Facebook a run for it’s money is Bites, Belly’s new hyperlocal customer acquisition tool that enables merchants to target new customers in their neighborhood who have never visited their business – and track who’s coming in as well as who’s coming back.

Through the self-service platform, merchants select how many new customers they want each month, and then offer a free sample of their signature product or service. From there, Belly taps into their member network of over 4 million people to identify and target customers who have never visited their business and who live in the neighborhood. The pay-for-performance model allows merchants to only pay for new customers that actually visit their store. And, local businesses have full visibility into the number of impressions their Bite offer received, as well as how many actual in-store visits and repeat visits it drove.

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Foursquare spinoff Swarm already helps users find friends and interesting things near their current location – and businesses could reap the benefits later. From their website, “You may also notice some of your friends are shown in a neighborhood instead of at a specific location. That’s called neighborhood sharing; it makes it easy to see where friends are at-a-glance, even if they don’t check in.”

According to an article published earlier this year, for businesses, this means Foursquare will provide results that are not only exclusive to a user's location, but are also personalized to show what an individual user will enjoy "based on everywhere that person and their friends have ever been," said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare chief executive (CEO).

As the mobile advertising market grows, we can expect to see more hyperlocal advertising options for retailers to get new customers and target their existing ones. According to Gartner, the mobile advertising market will reach 18 billion this year and $41.9 billion by 2017. We may not be far off from real-life “item left in cart” campaigns. Picture this, imagine leaving a local clothing store after eyeing a dress for 20 minutes. A half hour later, you’re down the street having lunch with a friend, and a mobile offer for that store (or dress) is delivered as a push notification to your phone, or pops up on your Facebook feed. This trend, and the possibility that comes with it, will only amplify as wearable tech becomes more mainstream.

Enabling location services raises both questions and opportunities for consumers and merchants alike. The line between effective and creepy can be blurred, but that’s not stopping both merchants and consumers from tapping into location services today.

Local merchants have access to more effective advertising tools, like Facebook local awareness and Belly Bites, than they ever have before, and the market only continues to grow.