Industry Insights
Close Enough: Proximity Marketing and the Future of Mobile Advertising

Dave Heinzinger InMarket

Dave Heinzinger
Senior Director, Communications
inMarket

inmarket mobile beacon logo


 

For those of us that aren’t familiar with InMarket, tell us a little more about your solution and some brands you’ve worked with.

inMarket is the world’s largest beacon proximity and location intelligence platform, reaching 38.6 million shoppers via top apps in thousands of U.S. retail locations. We were founded in 2010 and have since worked with 100+ brands, agencies and major retailers on national-scale mobile engagement programs. Our beacon platform, which launched in 2014, was the first of its kind in multiple retailers and the first to deliver a successful case study for a CPG brand.

Most recently, we introduced Quantum Receptivity — the first predictive/pretargeting product for mobile advertising that uses beacon data to determine when shoppers are “due” for a store visit and most receptive to brand engagements. So while we’re 5+ years old, we still have startup DNA and a knack for breaking ground in mobile advertising.

 

Mobile is obviously one of the biggest trends of our era, with more and more consumers spending most of their day with their phones. It’s even eclipsed desktop usage, and only seems to be growing. Do you ever see mobile being >90% of media consumption, with desktops only being used for business/work purposes?

Today, there are certain functions that still require a traditional desktop. For example, no one wants to edit a spreadsheet on their phone. But as mobile experiences get more intuitive, we’ll certainly see people spend more or their time on those devices. One thing is already certain — consumers (and particularly millennials) have come to expect digital benefits in their offline lives. That’s truly how mobile extends to where desktop can’t.

 

How do you think this shift to mobile has affected consumer habits or buying behavior?

Today’s shopper has all the tools in her pocket. We know that retailers are actively dealing with concepts like showrooming, and are worried about losing market share to e-commerce. This year, e-commerce beat offline on Black Friday for the first time ever. But a huge portion of consumer dollars are still spent offline in real world stores. So we’re in a unique period right now where  digital is having a major impact on ‘analog’ shopping. The smartest retailers know that online/offline is blending together and see it as a good thing that has given rise to new, more measurable, more impactful marketing tools.

 

There’s been some buzz about mobile beaconing over the years, but it’s never really reached the sensationalized hype of ‘programmatic‘ or ‘native‘. Why do you think that is the case?

The focus really shouldn’t be on ‘beaconing’ — it should be on creating awesome mobile experiences at the perfect time and place. We do this through a variety of tools, and beacons offer the most precise location data in the world today. And we know that when done right, the results are positive: Our platform has delivered a 19x increase in product engagements at the shelf and incremental sales thanks to in-store mobile engagement from beacon proximity efforts.

As a platform that has specialized in proximity since 2010 — well before beacons — we have the experience to guide our CPG and retail partners through the proximity test-and-learn phase, and how to find success with the best tools for those brands. What we’re seeing today is major scaling-up from the largest players in the U.S. with beacons in particular, because they’re so precise.

 

The ability to target a consumer as they are walking down a certain aisle, looking at a specific CPG product is a fascinating idea. How exactly do these mobile beacons work, or interact with a consumer’s mobile device?

Beacons themselves are simple bluetooth devices that broadcasts a signal that essentially says “I’m here.” It’s up to apps on the phone to listen for that signal, receive it and then do the heavy lifting in terms of user experience. In other words, beacons are 100% reliant upon apps to reach consumers. The hardware on its own can’t do anything.

We work with over a dozen of the biggest apps in various categories — like Epicurious (recipes), Favado (deals), Viggle (rewards), Coupon Sherpa (coupons) List Ease (list) and CheckPoints (gift cards) to create useful in-store mobile experiences that are triggered by beacons at the perfect moment.

 

Do you have partnerships with these retail or grocery stores to measure the effectiveness of the ad, whether it led to brand lift or sales? How is this data implemented into your reporting tool?

We’re actively working with top retailers in the Grocery, Drug Store, Quick Serve Restaurant, Dollar Store, Mass Merchandiser, Toy, and Consumer Electronics channels, representing 34,000+ stores nationally. We also have retail’s largest beacon deployment for a single retailer.

With our reach and location technology stack, we have the deepest location analytics in the world. All of our programs report brand awareness, ROI and incremental sales. For retailers, we can measure things like incremental store trips and average spend per store trip.

 

What other partnerships do you have (viewability, measurement, data) and how does their technology integrate with your platform?

We’re the only platform to be verified by comScore in terms of beacon-enabled app reach (38.6MM monthly active users as of October 2015).

We work with Datalogix for purchase verification.

 

What do you think is the biggest misconception about mobile beaconing technology?

That beacons aren’t “catching on” because consumers don’t know what they are. Chances are, if you live in the U.S., you’ve interacted with a beacon at some point. As a consumer, you likely won’t know (or care) if the content on your phone is triggered by a beacon or GPS — the same way you don’t care if the ad you see online was programmatic. At the end of the day it’s about the content.

That beacons on their own can do anything. We’ve seen a number of organizations get burned by purchasing thousands of devices but forgetting about reachable app audience. It’s like having thousands of radio stations with no active listeners.

 

Do you see any other applications for mobile beaconing beyond their existing use cases of advertising for CPG & Retail brands?

Absolutely.  We recently rolled out a proximity program with Zac Brown Band that drove awareness for our veterans via Warriors to Summits. We’re seeing widespread adoption in the travel and tourism industry, particularly among airlines, to better understand consumer behavior and provide contextual updates about flights or itineraries. Hotels are using the tech to cater to guest preferences. Getting even more creative, there are exciting new apps like Slide that use BLE tech to share images with people in proximity of an event. In 2016, we’ll see even more innovation from public transportation and infrastructure (smart cities/buildings) to education.

 

Lastly, what do you think is the future of mobile beaconing technology, and do you see it commanding a large slice of the mobile advertising pie in the near future?

Proximity — as facilitated by beacons, GPS or other technology — will be the fastest growing segment of mobile advertising in 2016. Consumer behavior has already shifted and millennials have basically become the 18-34 demographic. With beacons and proximity programs, we can make smartphones smarter and create serendipitous mobile experiences that help people at the perfect time.

 


 

inMarket is the world’s largest beacon and proximity marketing platform, reaching over 32MM monthly active shoppers (or 20% of the U.S. mobile audience) via top shopping apps in every major U.S. retail location.

inMarket specializes in working with leading retailers, CPGs and app publishers to create contextual engagements in the store, reinforce positive shopper habits and provide digital analytics for offline shopping. Since launching in 2010, inMarket has worked with 100+ top CPG brands in thousands of retail locations to drive purchase intent, brand awareness and increase sales.

inMarket’s groundbreaking work in the mobile-at-retail space includes the world’s first beacon platform in multiple retailers, the first beacon campaign for a CPG brand (McCormick’s Zatarain’s) and a landmark study showing how its in-store beacon platform drove high ROI sales lift (Hillshire Farm). In 2015, inMarket announced the world’s first beacon-Apple Watch integration at Marsh Supermarkets.

For more information on how inMarket can help you, please visit www.inmarket.com.

 

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