Location Services 2017: Top 7 Predictions
Location based marketing and location services saw greater adoption in 2016 and 2017 predictions forecast this to be the year businesses take a “location-first” approach in their marketing, mobile and growth strategy.
A report just released by Markets and Markets show the Location-Based Services (LBS) market is expected to grown to $77.84 Billion by 2021. Major areas of opportunities include enterprise services, mobile advertisements via LBS and location-based Business Intelligence (BI).
With major marketing automation platforms, such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud and IBM Marketing Cloud, offering enhanced location marketing technology, 2017 will the year enterprises scale their location-first approach to marketing and advertising.
Since behavior is inextricably tied to location, businesses that use location services to engage customers can expect to go places (pun intended). Here are seven predictions for the future of location based services in 2017:
1. Location and Real-Time Behavior Technology
I see 2017 as the year where location based technology, content delivery and customer intelligence will combine to become real-time behavior technology.
Over the past decade, many of the individual technological components involved in location based marketing have been rapidly maturing. We now have a wealth of data on a vast number of people collected from an array of sources ranging from social media, to payment information. At our disposal, we also now have amazing ways to deliver content from voice, video, pictures, AR, VR etc. Location technology accuracy and availability has matured enabling us to now know where a person actually is, instead of where they roughly are and we can gain this knowledge at scale.
But what does this all mean? Independently of each other, not much as each technology only gives us a piece of the puzzle. Without the rest of the pieces, mistakes can be made resulting in bad performance of campaigns or a terrible customer experience. Imagine if you are a customer who likes Starbucks, but receives a blaring video delivered to your app when at a hospital, visiting a sick relative, that happens to have a Starbucks close to it. This is bad for the customer and for the business and comes as a direct result of missing crucial pieces of the puzzle.
Over the next year, all of the technologies at our disposal are bound to come together in order to give businesses the ability to understand real-time customer behavior. The challenge for every business in 2017 is to use the tools we have to understand each customer’s individual behavior in real time and make sure that the intended customer experience matches their behavior. This confluence of the customer, business and technology will be key in 2017 and businesses who master it, will master their own success.
— Filip Eldic, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bluedot Innovation
2. New Degree of Personalization at Scale
Most of us recognize the value of greater levels of personalization in commerce. Successful businesses would see improved conversion and retention rates, resulting in satisfied customers and higher revenue. Customers would benefit from a transformed shopping experience that centers upon relevance and ease of purchase, reducing spam and friction in the process.
Despite this, there are only limited examples of successful personalization driving major revenue growth. I believe in 2017, we’ll see major progress in addressing this shortfall.
2017 will be the year where Personalization at Scale becomes a reality.
The confluence of multiple trends in marketing, predictive data and location services will be the driver of this change. The ability to structure and manage large scale marketing campaigns based on highly actionable customer data is already happening. This will be aided by accessible AI capabilities, like IBM’s Watson and Salesforce’s Einstein, that will substantially overcome the issues around leveraging the immense data that companies hold. Machine learning will allow continuous and automated refinement of campaigns at high speed and comparatively low cost.
High accuracy location services is the final element. It not only allows the delivery of personalized content, products and services to the precise location of the customer, but it also allows fine grained details about their context, circumstances and behavior to be factored into the campaign or sale. The accurate location data that results can then be leveraged again to keep improving the service.
For the first time, we can deliver genuine personalization at incredibly high scale.
— Emil Davityan, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Bluedot Innovation
3. Everyone Will Shift More Toward Mobile (and More Toward Location)
Location is mobile, and as Benedict Evans at Andreessen Horowitz put it, "Mobile is eating the world."
The consumer shift to mobile is very real and something that marketers need to optimize around in order to increase sales in a competitive landscape. Yet many marketers still haven't wrapped their minds around how rapid acceleration towards mobile impacts their business.
The key point that many miss: Thanks to mobile, advertisers can get a real understanding of consumers based on the places they visit in real time. Location is the cookie of the real world, and companies can use mobile-location data to target consumers and measure success, constantly refining and optimizing campaigns with daily data insights.
Companies can no longer afford to ignore the power of location data, and industries that are slow to adopt location intelligence will be trounced by their competitors.
Marketers enamored with the idea of "the next big thing" oftentimes get so caught up trying to identify it that they accidentally overlook critical tools capable of changing their business.
Location intelligence is one such area. It's available, it's new, and it's going to change how businesses grow. So as we head into the new year, marketers should ask themselves: Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and learn, or will you outsource the greatest opportunity to transform your business?
— Steven Rosenblatt, President of Foursquare, via Adweek.
4. Payments Pandemonium – Rise of Proximity-Based, Location Based Mobile Payments
I think 2017 will be the year we will see big adoption proximity-based, location-based mobile payments. I think the mobile wallet to some extent will take off in 2017. Obviously, we see growth in Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay and all of that. But I think what will drive it actually is users of other platforms. I’m talking about the law of large numbers now.
I think we’re seeing movement in the WeChats of the world and Alipays of the world, that have hundreds of millions of users in China that not just use these as chatting platforms but as payment platforms.
What happens is that if you’re on WeChat, you store a balance in there and you walk into a retailer in China and you can pay for goods using your WeChat app or Alipay app. What’s happened is that these companies have crossed the pond, they’re coming into the U.S. now, they’ve set up shop in the U.S. and they’re going out and signing up deals with merchants in the U.S. I know Macy’s and Nordstrom’s and all these guys are playing around with this stuff.
Starting with luxury retail. What you have is Chinese tourists coming to the U.S. and shopping for luxury goods that cost a lot more at home than they do in the U.S. What they want to do is enable them to do is pay for it the same way they do at home. So when you’re at Macy’s, you can pay with your WeChat app or Alipay app, whether you’re in New York or Atlanta or wherever you are.
I think that movement is going to accelerate phenomenally in 2017. I think it’s driven off beacons, near-field and location data that says this person who has this payment mechanism in their pocket is here right now and we want to enable a transaction to happen at this level. I think that will drive Google Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and all this stuff along. I think all those platforms, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram is going to follow along.
— Asif Khan, Founder & President of the Location-Based Marketing Association, via LBMA
5. Role of Location Shifts from Targeting to Advertising Effectiveness
2017 will be the year where the increasing availability of foot traffic data will begin to impact the way brick and mortar retailers spend their digital advertising budgets. Latitude, longitude, and device ID will quickly become the cookie of the physical world as it is brought into the mainstream by Google and Facebook. Location will begin to shift from its primary role as a targeting attribute into a way for brick and mortar businesses to measure advertising effectiveness. Advertisers with a desire to drive footsteps will favor publishers and networks able to provide this level of data, eventually making clicks to store visits a common metric.
6. Death of Big Data, Rise of Predictive Data
My prediction for 2017 is the death big data and the rise of actionable, predictive data.
We saw partnerships with Uber, payment processors, Visa, MasterCard, PlaceIQ. We saw the money and the finance side within apps, location based services, hyper-location, use cases come together and start to talk to one another.
We are going to see a decline in that invasive, and privacy-specific data that marketers and advertisers have been relying on. I think we’re going to see a rise in non-invasive, privacy-sensitive, actionable data—anonymously using data that companies have and using machine learning and different trends to make real-time, predictive decisions.
We see a lot of ad spend that is wasted. That is a big problem. We also see a lot of ad fraud. The ability to predict based on anonymous data is going to be really big. We are going to see more partnerships emerge this year based on actionable, predictive data. We are going to see more mobile and ad-centric companies base a lot more of their decisions off of this anonymous data versus by targeting by the device ID or ad ID.
— Aubriana Lopez, Chief Mobile Strategist at Digital Element, via LBMA.
7. Sophistication in Location Data
As marketer’s knowledge of their consumer base continues to grow via their always-improving CRMs, brands will want to more effectively leverage this and all available data to make deliberate, automated, and addressable marketing and media decisions. Expect to see companies emerge that explicitly work on providing a data layer to brand’s CRM. Weather, location, and consumer confidence measures will quickly become married to stored customer and transaction data. Sophistication in location in particular will form the basis of better and more impactful targeting and useful triggers for media placements and execution.
— Luis Martinez, Digital Marketing Lead at Denny’s, via Yext.