2.6 billion people have smartphones today. That’ll be a staggering 6.1 billion by 2020, just five short years from today.

facebook-app-iphone-iosBut we literally have almost no understanding of how radically this will change almost everything about how a brand or company will interact with its customers. That’s something we’ll be exploring tomorrow — with the help of American Eagle’s SVP for digital, Joe Megibow.

Mobile is the most transformative technology for marketers, ever.

Location is a huge part of that, and a huge part of the data that can help marketers be contextual, be relevant, and be helpful — as opposed to the majority of advertising today, which is irrelevant or worse, annoying. One thing we know is that when marketers use location data to improve the relevance of their ads, campaign performance jumps by 45 percent. That means good things for marketers and the brands they work for, sure, but it also means good things for customers and users: more signal, less noise.

We’re seeing major relevance for local businesses — more than two thirds of us have tapped on mobile ads for retail, fast food — and even more of us are seeing mobile ads for national or global brands:

01-Mobile-Ads-Local

But geolocation isn’t just important for advertising, and it’s not just important for marketers. It’s also important for brands and customer experience.

Join the webinar here: Geolocation: wherever they go, there you are

Quick example: I was walking into the airport last week for my United flight, pulled out the app to access my boarding pass, and Apple chose that moment to update the app. It wouldn’t download over the air (too large) and airport Wi-Fi was unreliable (shocking, I know), so I had to resort to the old-fashioned method of printing out ye olde dead tree boarding pass.

Airplane flying high

Hashtag: fail.

Customer service would include not doing that, but also telling me via push notification where my suitcase will be after the flight, if I happened to check a bag. Sometimes it’s better not to do something … like refraining from sending me a push notification from the Pizza Hut app about the special today at my local restaurant because — shocker — I am not home but on a trip.

We’ll look at indoor versus outdoor geolocation, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, beacons (i and not-i), use cases and data, metadata, and yes, even the brilliant still-hypothetical-but-increasingly-real Internet of everything that is fast approaching.

And we’ll find what’s working, what’s worth thinking about, and what should be left for a future day.

The webinar is tomorrow at 10 a.m. PST.