A study was released yesterday on consumer preferences for mobile ads. The findings were close to my heart here at the Blinking Light.
They key finding, for me, was consumers overwhelmingly prefer mobile ads that are based on interests rather than location. So targeting via content trumps targeting via context.
Of course, the real secret sauce is delivery of an ad/offer at the right moment based on a pre-defined or clearly available interest. But we’re still working on fine tuning that.
What this does highlight is two key lenses for assessing mobile ad campaign execution:
1. There’s nothing in proximity that does (or at the minimum, should) assume intent or interest.
Just because I happen to be near something, doesn’t mean I’m interested in it. Now, you may be able to assume I’m interested in a fenced space - i.e. if I’m at an event. But just because I’m walking down the street and happen to pass or be near a location means very little of value.
2. There’s a very fine line between being relevant and creepy.
This statement is a bit tongue in cheek, but I’m also deadly serious. The problem with using location as a trigger is that is implies you’re “watching” the consumer. Privacy is a big deal in any digital medium. It’s especially important in mobile given the exceedingly personal nature of the device.
Opt-ins for shared location and defined content preferences need to be secured before the lever of ‘customized’ offers should be pulled.
And that’s not because we, in the mobile space, don’t want to offer that heightened relevance. It’s because we want to avoid pissing off consumers.
You should too.