Where’s Location-Based Marketing These Days?

Throughout all the mobile marketing news coming out day after day, why isn’t there a larger mention of location-based marketing? With the future of mobile advertising relying heavily on the location of the users its targeting, it surprises me that many companies simply side-step the technology to opt instead for standard SMS and contexual advertising.

While contexual ads are targeted to some extent to the content being displayed on the mobile device, it still doesn’t provoke the conversions that ads pertaining to something around the user’s geographic location would. If someone is using mobile search to lookup a coffee shop, or even a name of someone they know, instead of being served ads for coffee makers and online stores that sell coffee, wouldn’t it be much more beneficial to show the 5 nearest coffee shops to the user? Likewise, instead of showing ads for Yellowbook and other people-search portals online, wouldn’t a user want to see an ad stating the address of the person they’re looking for with the exact distance and directions to them?

Understandably, the technology on devices and carriers has to be in place, which it hasn’t in large part up until now, but location-based marketing doesn’t necessarily have to rely on GPS. Every mobile phone made has the ability to triangulate its signal via the nearest cell towers its connected to. Given, in rural areas with less cell-tower coverage- the approximation is going to lack, but location-based ads are better suited for urban areas overall anyway.

Hopefully the introduction of Android-based handsets together with a dedicated team of developers will bring location-aware advertising to light. The iPhone has treaded the waters a little bit, but not as much as I would have thought given its GPS capabilities and developer community. For the next phase of mobile marketing to take hold, location will have to become a large piece of the puzzle.