A self-service advertising model gave businesses a means to advertise across the Web through AdWords, and publishers the tools to serve up ads on their sites through AdSense. Then came display ads across the Google network, and daily deals with Google Offers.
Google isn't a stranger to location-based services through Android and mobile devices. So what would it look like if Google were to combine some of these more traditional online ad services with a location-based platform and near field communication (NFC) technology through Google+?
Location-based advertising will generate more than 60% of location-based services revenue in 2015, according to a report from Pyramid Research. The findings suggest that revenue from global location-based services will reach $10.3 billion in 2015, up from $2.8 billion in 2010. Growth will come from GPS and smartphone adoption, mobile advertising and higher speeds and wide coverage of mobile networks. Opportunities are to be found in social networking, advertising-based messaging and in-app advertising.
The move toward location-based advertising will also generate a new type of analytics. ABI Research calls it "location analytics," and forecasts market revenue in this space to reach $9 billion in 2016. The company said location-based analytics (LBA) will be generated through "social, geographic, physical and emotional indicators to filter advertisements to a specific user" and the best way to combine and target them to individuals "in a non-intrusive, anonymous way is through location analytics."
ABI Director Dominique Bonte said PlaceIQ, Placecast, Sense Networks and Skyhook Wireless/SimpleGEO, as well as Apple are already involved in this space.
A combination of Google Offers, Google+ and other Google tools could create an opt-in, location-based ad service through Google+ not only for retailers, but a variety of businesses looking to connect directly with consumers. Google is working on creating a business model for Google+. Wedbush Securities Analyst Lou Kerner points to comScore's estimated 20-million unique visitors in the first couple of weeks after launch and likens the rate at which it is growing to the Q&A site Quora.
As Kerner points out, the most important feature Google will add to Google+ will be an API, allowing independent software developers to create applications that link in advertising campaigns and social games similar to Facebook and Zynga.
Along with the API, Google will likely give merchants a platform to create, deliver and track redemptions of mobile promotions in Google+. Google, the king of self-service platforms, could tie in near field communications (NFC) and create something similar to Placecast, which launched a self-services application for ShopAlerts.
The ShopAlerts platform allows retailers to increase loyalty through location-targeted text messages across more than 250 million phones, according to the company. The opt-in service works across AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile networks. Consumers receive a message from a business that could include a discount, sale notification or directions to a store.