Ever since Oreo responded to the Super Bowl blackout and garnered nearly 7 million tweets, marketers have paid extra attention to the concept of real-time marketing.
Real-time marketing has ample potential because it allows marketers to connect with consumers in more relevant ways by taking into account cultural and news content happening in the moment. Consumers are responding favorably as well. According to a May 2013 eMarketer study, those exposed to real-time marketing were much more likely to take action with the brand the same day.
By now, brands are accustomed to using social media as the main form of real-time marketing. But there are other key ways that marketers can, and should, be integrating real-time into their overall marketing strategy. Here are some ways to get started.
Real-time Coupons Based on Geolocation
Smartphone usage has reached an all-time high of 56% penetration in the US. As such, brands are beginning to see that they must have a strong mobile presence to reach customers where they are spending their time. Luckily, many ideas that were one-off executions are now more accessible due to mobile proliferation. One example is couponing in the retail industry. 41% of mobile coupons users said they had redeemed coupons at the grocery store, 41% said they redeemed coupons at department stores, and 39% at clothing stores. Target is an example of a retailer that sometimes sends coupons to shoppers as soon as they enter a store, while Walmart uses a mix of mobile apps, digital coupons, mobile barcodes, and mobile advertising to reach shoppers.
Real-time Targeting Based on Weather
Brand marketers have started using the weather to target on-the-go consumers. Why? Because contextual ads work. Targeting based on the weather makes the most sense for severe weather changes, such as upcoming blizzards, snowstorms, or heat waves. Marketers are just beginning to tap into the potential of these opportunities because it is a way of reaching people that was not possible before.
Certain product categories will likely utilize this type of targeting more than others. Food industry brands, for instance, can offer ads that automatically trigger once the local weather hits a certain temperature threshold. At that time, the brand can either show ads for hearty warm soup or a refreshing drink. Alternatively, brands can have messaging that encourages friends to dine outdoors on a warm evening, or come inside to escape the wind. Apparel retailers can also advertise different types of clothing based on the weather. If there is an unexpected rain storm, it doesn't make sense to show ads of t-shirts and shorts -- what would be effective, though, are ads about rain coats, boots, and umbrellas. As advertisers experiment with applications of weather-based targeting, we'll see wider adoption and more creative use cases across the board.
Monitoring an ad campaign's performance in real-time empowers marketers to keep a pulse on what's working and what's not. This provides a chance to optimize a campaign to fully make use of impressions. By adjusting the campaign creative in an agile way, marketers can put their insights into action immediately to boost overall campaign performance, as opposed to waiting for the next campaign to apply learnings.
For example, if a brand finds that few consumers are interacting with an ad, they can swap out content or functionality in an ad to see if it improves engagement. New technology allows brands to make updates, then have the changes reflected all over the web. Thus, by incorporating real-time metrics, brands can strengthen their overall understanding of a campaign and how to reach customers now and in the future.