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Gap wagers on location-based ads, Instagram to drive summer foot traffic

Gap’s marketing campaign uses a combination of location-based advertising and user-generated content to get consumers into stores this summer.

The #Summerloves campaign enlists musicians Andra Day and Smith Westerns to represent Gap in its marketing. Similar to other millennial-focused marketers, Gap continues to bump up its digital marketing and investments to better appeal to a group of consumers who are increasingly shopping less in bricks-and-mortar stores.

“Combining location-based marketing with social media is a great way to personalize campaigns, yet establish urgency at the same time,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“Using Instagram makes sense for sharing ideas like the latest fashions, but waiting for the customer to start the conversation with the brand is not enough to meet business objectives; however the combination of the two can be extremely powerful,” he said. “Social and mobile strategies can amplify each other, but retailers can really make these strategies work to achieve their bottom line if they are smart in execution.”

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Gap. He spoke based on his expertise on the subject.

Gap did not respond to press inquiries.

Heating up summer marketing
The banner ads are running within the AP News mobile site and include animation to show two pieces of creative — one with the hashtag #Summerloves and one that shows how far away the nearest store is.

Clicking on the ad brings up a branded landing page that pulls in the map information for the three closest Gap locations. Each location can be clicked on to view a map of the store and directions.

There is also a call-to-action along the bottom of the page that directs traffic to a #Summerloves microsite.

The microsite lets consumers view and shop Gap look books with the celebrities.

Big buttons along the bottom of the screen show campaign images that let consumers either locate an item in-store or buy it via Gap’s mobile site by clicking through. The price of the item is also displayed in the top right-hand corner of the page.

Gap is also displaying some of its Instagram efforts via the microsite.

About a week ago, Gap posted a video on Instagram announcing the summer campaign with Ms. Day. This video is posted on the microsite in addition to other summer-themed content.

Mobile advertising continues to appear to be of importance to Gap, especially when it comes to combining these types of social content with commerce.

In March, the brand ran an iPad ad campaign to promote its blogger program to drive sales (see story).

Additionally, an executive laid out Gap’s mobile and social strategy last year at eTail West, emphasizing that consumers respond better to Instagram posts than traditional marketing assets in some campaigns (see story).

Doubling down on digital
The new advertising campaign is part of a bigger marketing move from Gap to revamp its online and in-store experiences.

Gap announced a three-year $300 million investment into digital that will begin with a new responsive site in April (see story).

In addition to simply driving in-store traffic, Gap’s efforts are also an attempt to scout out consumers that can be turned into loyalty members.

“Retailers like Gap should make sure they are using location-based offers to generate long-term engagement by encouraging customers to sign up for ongoing mobile communications,” Mr. Kolodziej said.

“Some technologies on the market today can take location-based strategies beyond real-time incentives and get shoppers to return to the store if the retailer knows they have not been in store in a certain amount of time, presenting additional opportunities to build loyalty and increase engagement,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York