Expert Interview Series: David Bairstow About How Location-Specific Marketing Increases an App’s Engagement

2 min read

What are you doing right now? Where are you?

Is your phone with you? Did you know that the apps on your phone could be using your current location to create a very specific marketing profile? Your profile, to be exact.

How is this possible? What does your profile look like?

To learn more about location-specific marketing, Glance spoke with David Bairstow, the Vice President of Product at Skyhook Wireless.

How can location-specific marketing increase an app’s engagement?

For starters, location-specific marketing increases an app’s engagement by personalizing the experience. Knowing a device’s history or the precise locations tied to a device allows an app to categorize behavior at a granular level. Add venue-level context to each precise location and you have a story about the device’s behavior. It’s called a persona. Knowing a user’s persona allows an app to tailor an experience specifically to the user.

What would a specific example look like?

If a user visits coffee shops frequently, part of his persona is a “coffee lover.” Knowing that about a user’s behavior, without actually knowing the identity of the person, allows apps to deliver relevant content to their users.

What is geofencing and how do you use it?

A geofence is a virtual perimeter. It can act as a trigger for apps to deliver mobile messaging to users. Apps use geofencing to understand where their users are and when they enter a venue. That information can aid in creating more dynamic and personalized user experiences.

For example?

Say a gym’s app holds the user’s access card. Geofencing can cause it to surface on the lock screen when the user is about to walk into the gym. Location solves the annoyance of having to pull up the access card and gives the member a valuable shortcut. With geofencing, an app can deliver a more frictionless experience that can improve key metrics, such as customer satisfaction, retention, and engagement.

It may not always be an in-the-moment payoff. What is resonating with a lot of our partners is the notion of insights derived from where people go. 

Apps use geofencing to understand where their users are and when they enter a venue.Click To Tweet

Let’s say Starbucks is using location and understands where their regular app users go. It’s helpful for them to know not only when they go to Starbucks, but also if their users go to Peet’s Coffee or Dunkin Donuts in equal ratios. Based on the patterns of where people go, apps can start to build a more sophisticated understanding of their consumers so they can segment based on where the phone goes.

Coffee apps can segment by super loyal coffee buyers that only go to Starbucks, versus the split loyals that are either Starbucks or Dunkin, depending on which is closest to them at a given time, versus someone who has no loyalty at all and goes to any coffee shop near them. Apps can build outreach and marketing campaigns that don’t have to be based on a specific moment in time. Rather, they can be based on the segment the user is in. An app’s message can then be different for a super-loyal customer versus somebody that they are trying to gain market share from.

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