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Waze's Edward Ling shares the importance of location-based marketing

Waze's Edward Ling shares the importance of location-based marketing

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As digital marketing grows more targeted and precise, consumers too are becoming more mobile and diverse. Geofencing is one tool helping marketers employ targeted advertising which involves a virtual perimeter ensuring people who enter it receive specific alerts or messages.

A+M spoke with Edward Ling, the Malaysia Lead for Waze, which is a crowd-sourced navigation app to help drivers find the most optimal routes to their destination about the current impact of location-based advertising. Ling will be sharing more in-person at the Digital Marketing Malaysia conference on 3-4 May.

A+M: What are the advertising challenges and opportunities in a market such as Malaysia?

Ling: Malaysia is a diverse market. While it’s normal for marketers to rely on nation-wide campaigns, brands have a chance to make a bigger impact by communicating at a more local level.

The biggest challenge for marketers in Malaysia is the slow adoption of digital and mobile channels. When we compare time spent per media versus investment, brands are still over-investing in traditional media. And common challenges of how to find the right media mix to be able to reach their audience at the right moment remain. It’s not only a matter of making the right budget decisions.

Trying out new media partners, going for more local or more niche media requires more time, effort and creative resources. But this is mandatory if you want to keep up with your customers evolving behaviours.

A+M: What is the current impact of geo-fencing on marketing? Which brands have been most innovative in its execution?

Ling: GPS location enables us to show the right message at the right time and of course in the right place. And we’ve measured what we call the Ad Recall lift and the Navigation lifts for hundreds of campaigns and what we’ve seen is that it raises brand awareness behaviours in drivers, resulting directly in more in-store traffic.

We’ve been lucky to collaborate with a broad range of brands from diverse industries and key examples would be U Mobile, Petron and Shell. Shell had a campaign with different messages for different driving contexts and some brands went even further such as AirAsia who was the first brand to offer custom turn-by-turn directions through AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes.

A+M: Customers should be targeted based on more than just location. So how can marketers get the best value out of location-based tools in their marketing mix?

Ling: My advice is to take full advantage of a tool’s reach to build your local awareness. Targeting should be used to adapt creatives to different contexts not to limit your reach in my opinion. We’re fortunate to have 5.4 million monthly active users to allow more opportunity for reach. Of course, different technologies have different values depending on the nature of the business. The value of location data for example can be multiplied by the reach and the engagement with the tool.

A+M: If marketing using geo-fencing requires mobile users to opt in to both location services and push notifications, does this restrict the advertising potential? How do you build trust to encourage opting in?

Ling: In our case, users opt into both of these conditions when signing up for the app as they are a core function of the app. Our business model relies entirely on ads so users understand that they have to accept advertising in exchange of a free service. However, we are very careful not to spam our users or to capture our users locations once they quit the app so that they trust us and have the best possible experience.

A+M: What is the potential of geo-fencing for marketers and what are the next steps for the technology?

Ling: The key difference between mobile and other digital platforms is the ability to include the context of location and a new opportunity for social connectivity. Smartphones are always connected giving brands unique insights on context thanks to its location data. But significantly, it is a personal device enabling one-to-one conversations between users and brands. The next step for the technology is to align the mobile web and real world behaviours even more closely with the use of augmented reality, transportation-as-a-service, on-demand delivery and more.

Join Edward Ling and other experts from brands including AirAsia, CIMB, Kimberly-Clark, Universal Music Group and more as they share their insights on the future of digital at Digital Marketing Malaysia on 3-4 May at the Aloft Kuala Lumpur. Reserve your place here.

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