Mobile

Urban Airship: ‘Don’t advertase me, bro!’

Above: VentureBeat's Meghan Kelly, Shazam's Rich Riley, eBay's Dane Glasgow, Urban Airship's Brent Hieggelke

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.: Just because you walk by a hot dog stand, doesn’t mean you’re craving a hot dog.

So if your phone buzzes, you might be rather annoyed to find out it’s just a hot dog ad that’s trying to get your attention, not something relevant to you.

This example illustrates how location-based advertising is not enough. Brands are finding that the most effective ads offer a relevant coupon or discount — some kind of utility for consumers — on the right device at the appropriate time and place.

Mobile marketing company Urban Airship has a saying around its office for brands that don’t take context into account: “Don’t advertase me bro!” (If this pop culture reference has escaped you, check out the story here.)

On stage at the MobileBeat conference, Urban Airship chief marketing officer Brent Hieggelke offered an alternative approach. A retailer might want to offer a discount to a consumer who hasn’t set foot in their physical store in six months, but only when they are in the neighborhood.

Before serving ads, Hieggelke suggests that brands ask themselves: “Are you solving a problem for someone? Are you making someone’s life better?”

Shazam, the app that helps people identify songs they like, is working with brands to “create magical experiences,” chief executive Rich Riley said.

At MobileBeat, Riley revealed that the app is working with brands like Jaguar. While a consumer is watching an ad, Shazam offers them an opportunity to explore the inside of a Jaguar vehicle. “We have seen some very meaningful engagement rates,” Riley said, without sharing specifics.

Shazam has come a long way since it initially burst onto the scene. Now, when consumers are streaming media of any kind, they can tag it, share and buy. If you’re watching a cooking show, you can “Shazam it” and get real-time information about a recipe, and ultimately buy ingredients.

“We are all about mobile context,” said Riley. “We’ve realized that people do want to engage with the media around them.”

Likewise, eBay is investing in its mobile and local strategy to reach and offer value to consumers. eBay’s Dane Glasgow said that eBay is tracking how customers engage on mobile, and offers them alerts on shipping and packaging, but keeps into account device usage, location and more.

“We think about how all these pieces can come together for a great user experience,” said Glasgow.

One thing is certain, we’re entering into a new era of relevant, contextual ads. Hieggelke believes that the technology and core capabilities already exist, but brands still don’t know how to bring this system together.

He concluded that marketers are beginning to think differently, but we have to “crawl, then walk, then run” to get there.


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