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Ivan Braiker

Geotargeting. Is It Part of Your Plan?

Geotargeting. Is It Part of Your Plan?

“But the reason SoLoMo matters is that it's unique to the mobile device; it doesn't make sense on the desktop the same way steering columns didn't fit 19th century horse-drawn carriages. It's the platypus of the mobile app ecosystem. And it's taking form in local discovery. This shuns the search paradigm that ruled the desktop web in favor of pushing things to you. Deals, suggestions or events are pushed based on your check-ins or social activity as you wander across different tiles of the Earth.”

--Michael Boland, quoted in the Huffington Post

SoLoMo – it’s a portmanteau of “social, local, mobile,” a single word that describes the unique convergence of social media and localization applications on a mobile device. And it makes sense—mobile is truly the only medium that can marry search and localization. But that doesn’t mean other media can’t benefit from this marriage.

In my 2012 preview piece (“2012: Mobile, Social, Local and You”) I talked about how radio could utilize SMS-based loyalty programs—including listener clubs, sports updates and traffic and weather alerts—to maintain a local identity with their listeners.  And in a piece last fall (“’Liked’ Is Good. Mobile Makes It Better”) I talked about how mobile marketing could extend the value of stations’ Facebook presences through mobile marketing.

Like SoLoMo itself, today I’m going to mash up these concepts and talk a bit about Facebook geotargeting, and how it can help national programs and their sponsors target local audiences.

Facebook’s geotargeting is a very powerful yet oft-overlooked capability. In its simplest terms, it allows you to customize posts to a Facebook page by location. For example, if you want to post a story germane to listeners in Tulsa, you can modify it so that only users in Tulsa would see it in their Facebook feed. This sort of granularity can provide significant benefits for national broadcasters, sponsors and local stations alike.

The benefits of this seem self-evident—you’re targeting an audience with geographically-relevant content. Makes sense. But what may be most surprising is the level of engagement for this geotargeted content. Recently, the Nieman Journalism Lab published a case study of Facebook geotargeting conducted by NPR, to determine if stories focused just on Seattle would drive significant traffic from Facebook to the Web site of their Seattle affiliate, KPLU.

“Last October NPR Digital Services and Digital Media used this tool to launch an experiment with member station KPLU, in which we shared selected content on NPR’s Facebook page, but only for the eyes of the Seattle region (KPLU’s market).”

During the four months of this experiment, they posted around 50 geotargeted links—stories from the KPLU Web site—on the NPR Facebook page, but visible only to Facebook users in Seattle. They were able to measure the relative engagement of stories—the number of likes, shares and comments on a Facebook post as a percentage of the number of unique people who viewed it. The results for geotargeted stories were quite impressive:

“We found that during the first four months of this experiment, the average engagement rate across all geofocused posts was six times higher than all global posts.”

While this particular case study was focused on driving traffic from Facebook to the mobile Web, the benefits of geotargeting can extend from Facebook to mobile marketing to the mobile Web:

·Geotargeting empowers national sponsors who can target listeners with special local offers. For example, Arby’s is a key client of ours, and uses geotargeting capabilities to make certain that offers are made to listeners in regions where they are valid.

·Geotargeting empowers national broadcasters to have local relevance. A nationally syndicated broadcaster can target localized content—say, Tom Joyner is doing a live remote from a local affiliate—solely to listeners in that market.

·Mobile marketing can extend the power of geotargeting. Stations with mobile CRM programs for listener loyalty clubs can tap into this localized, geotargeted content, too. When the Tom Joyner Morning Show geotargets content to listeners on Charlotte’s WQNC-FM, the station can easily add a post with a “call-to-action” to join their listener loyalty club.

Mobile has a proven ability to enhance the relevance of our medium. Geotargeting is helping us to ensure that radio will benefit from extending the capabilities of SoLoMo.

Ivan Braiker is the president of Hipcricket+Augme Technologies, Inc. Drop him a note at

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