Proximity is one of the chief targeting parameters in mobile advertising, but its impact is category-specific. According to the latest finding of NinthDecimal’s Mobile Audience Insights report, retail, consumer packaged goods and quick-service restaurant (QSR) mobile ads each elicit different rates of user interaction at different distances from the point of purchase.
For instance, retail advertising is most effective, on a CTR basis at least, when an ad is viewed two to five miles from the store (+24% over average CTR). That effectiveness drops to +14% when the user is within two miles of the store.
Conversely, ads for the goods one buys at the retail store (CPG) show their greatest impact (+13%) when viewed within that two- mile radius of a point of purchase -- and even more so than when viewed in the store itself (+6%).
But when it comes to both the retail location and the CPGs in the store, ads for both categories start dropping to below average CTRs once the user is outside the five-mile range. Out of range, out of mind, apparently. And the metrics suggest how important location targeting is to maintain relevance and avoid waste.
There is a very different dynamic at work in the QSR category, however. Here, it seems that distance makes the heart grow fonder. The metrics show that the optimal clickthroughs come when the restaurant ad is seen five to 10 miles away (+18%) and actually diminishes sharply (+8%) even as one gets two to five miles out. In fact, in this category it seems entirely ineffective, even counterproductive to hit someone with a McDonald’s, Arby’s or Cal’s ad when they are within easiest driving distance (under 2 miles), where users are 3% less likely to click on it.
Clearly, some of these metrics have to do not only with how we make different buying decisions for various categories, but also where and when we make them. If we take as a given that most pre-shopping research (even on mobile) occurs at home rather than on the road, then it makes some sense that CPG ads are more effective closer to the grocery store, which is probably closer to the home than most retail outlets or QSRs. And these metrics use crude CTR measures and cannot measure the brand impact of ads seen closer to point of purchase. In order to get a clearer picture of proximity impact, we really need a fuller picture.
Interestingly, even though location is directly related to ad effectiveness, proximity does not figure into most ad creative itself. While 57% of QSR mobile ads do include location-related content, only about a third of retail, CPG or auto ads do.
Targeting on mobile is generally still a rough art. NinthDecimal is an audience intelligence company that drives programmatic mobile buys. But its numbers show that media buyers continue to favor only a few very broad segments when targeting. For instance, the most popular audience segmentation by far (48%) remains tech enthusiasts, followed by ethnicity (25%). Other categories of targeting are QSR consumers (12%), auto intenders (7%) and income or gender (3% each).