Location Specific Advertising – Interview Notes

Last October, a reporter asked: “I’m writing a column on the chances for location based mobile advertising to succeed or fail. The promise has existed for years, but has yet to take off. In what form can it exist without driving consumers up a wall?”

My response:

Interruption advertising will not work on mobile devices. TV commercials have always been inefficient but they are becoming less and less effective because people simply will not tolerate being interrupted for a commercial message anymore. The same will hold true for location-based mobile ads.

I do, however, think they can and will be effective if they are opt-in and they provide real value. A service that alerts you whenever you are near a home for sale that fits your requirements is the type of advertising application that I think a lot of people will use.

I could see a successful advertising application that allowed you to set, for instance, the time of day you are interested in receiving specific types of mobile ads: An alert that offers discounts from take-out restaurants you pass on your way home from 5-6 p.m. or an alert that gives you the happy hour specials of the bars near you.

I could see an application that allowed you to scan bar codes, compare prices and check inventory for the same product from nearby merchants being very appealing.

I do think the day when advertisements interrupt your content or experience is dying and people will become increasingly intolerant of it, especially on their mobile devices, which are really part of their private space.