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Starbucks, Asda use proximity targeting on mobile to drive in-store traffic

Starbucks and Asda are leveraging proximity targeting on mobile devices to raise brand awareness of new products, drive consumer traffic and enhance the in-store experience as part of their ongoing efforts to dominate the mobile space.

With Starbucks mobile ordering officially rolling out for Portland customers this week, the beverage brand is continuing to bolster its growing mcommerce strategy and loyalty platform. A recent mobile advertisement campaign in Britain leveraged location data and Store Visitation Lift for Starbucks and supermarket chain Asda, resulting in a more than 60 percent lift in store visits after the campaign was completed.

“Advertising has always been about reaching the right person with the right message at the right time,” said Katy Zack, director of communications for xAd, New York. “Working with xAd gave Starbucks and Asda the ability add a fourth dimension: place.

“Place enabled both brands with a level of personalization and relevance that hadn’t been possible before mobile became a customer’s first screen.”

Mobile influence
XAd aimed to show major retailers and brands the influence of mobile by rolling out a series of trials displaying how campaigns on smartphones can affect store visitation lift. With the objective of raising customer awareness of Starbucks’ new Guatemala beverage in mind, the mobile advertising firm developed a creative to use local messaging based on a consumer’s distance to the nearest store.

Once the distance data was collected, users were delivered step-by-step directions to the nearest Starbucks location on their smartphone via user-friendly landing pages. The landing page for Starbucks’ Guatemala drink showcased a rustic display with an image of the beverage and buttons to find the nearest store or discover more information.

The xAd Starbucks creative provided strong call-to-action

“For this study with Starbucks, xAd used several tools: audience targeting, proximity targeting and dynamic creative,” Ms. Zack said. “With Starbucks, we found that audience targeting drove more store visits and proximity targeting resulted in a higher click-through rate.

“In this case, audience targeting with relevant creative messaging was the most effective way to drive in-store traffic.”

The campaign for British-based chain Asda, which retails food, financial services and clothing among other goods and services, was designed in a similar manner. Consumers on smartphones would see a banner at the top or bottom of their screens prompting them to find their nearest Asda location, which led to a creative landing page offering directions or more information.

Call-to-action importance
Both campaigns had a strong call-to-action on mobile, which resulted in click-through rates higher than the industry standard and more in-store traffic. Starbucks’ store visitation lift improved by more than 100 percent after consumers were exposed to ads.

“Starbucks used two calls to action in its standard 320 x 50 ad units: ‘Find Nearest Starbucks’ and ‘Discover More,’” Ms. Zack said. “Asda used ‘More Info’ and ‘Directions to Nearest Store’ to appeal to people.

The Asda campaign showcased products along with directions to the user’s local store

“Both Starbucks and Asda made sure that their call-to-actions appealed to customers’ needs — for those who urgently wanted to visit a store location and for people who wanted to continue researching for future purchases.”

While call-to-actions are important in raising brand awareness and helping the advertised product or surface stay at the forefront of customers’ minds, marketers should also be aware of their client base and the kinds of offers, promotions and advertisements that resonate most strongly with their consumers.

“Call-to-actions are important, however, it’s important to note that isn’t one strategy that fits every brand,” Ms. Zack said. “The consumer path to purchase varies greatly by category.

“In our research on the most effective creative messaging and proximity targeting strategies for marketers (blog post here), we’ve found is that the best messaging and targeting strategies are dependent on the category and desired outcome.”

For retail brands and major chains such as Starbucks and Asda with many brick-and-mortar stores, location-based targeting is an optimal mobile strategy of driving traffic, and ultimately, consumption on mobile and in-store.

“Using place enables brands to reach the holy grail of advertising – reaching the right person with the right message at the right time,” Ms. Zack said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York