This post is part of a series of 2016 predictions from industry experts.
Location and Time Take Over
Naturally, in the world of local information and discovery, there will be a continuous evolution of tools and data sets that help digital marketers and brands reach their audience. When I think about the growth we've seen recently in mobile technology and the spend migration to mobile by brands, agencies, and platforms, it's obvious that mobile and local usage will continue to increase massively.
That said, my prediction isn't that more time and treasure will be spent on mobile ads and local. Hopefully, we all agree that's obvious. My prediction is that marketers will migrate from using thousands of data points to reach their audience to principally focusing upon just two.
Location and time.
In the world of marketing and advertising, the optimization process around spend is a mind blowing web of statistics and probabilities. For those who enjoy it, there is constant opportunity to find an optimal (yet changing) mix of data points that help get the right message to the right customer at the right time. As mobile and local rise in spend, an amazing trend will emerge. We will all begin to focus the vast majority of our advertising and spend on the location of the individual and their time of day.
Those two data elements alone can get the vast majority of retailers, restaurants, service companies — and just about any other business that deals in local — unprecedented click rates and new customers. If you missed it, there was a great article in the Wall Street Journal the other day titled "Now Prices Can Change from Minute to Minute" that shows how businesses are literally changing the price of a pint of your favorite lager based on where you are and what time of day it is. Our ability to create value for every local customer utilizes similar methods. As consumers begin to share more of that information (where they are and when), marketers will be able to provide more valuable information to them, and the virtuous cycle of information exchange for value proposition will accelerate. Key to all of this, naturally, will be the need for real-time data and delivery.
This also aligns with Google Maps' addition of "Popular Times", which begins to leverage time of day location traffic. After all, if I'm on a mobile phone and search for a local business, should my search prioritize places that are open now over those places that are closed now? Or perhaps places that are less busy now instead of places that are jammed with customers?
Filtering on age, gender, income, demographics, industry, profession and thousands more data points to target customers will rapidly take a back seat to the power of "I'm here, it's noon, and I'm hungry!" After all, do any other factors matter at that point?
Don't get me wrong, there will always be a need to add more data and to optimize, but as location and time become more available, these two critical data elements will be the first actors onto which all other data for optimization will be attached.