Coca-Cola experiment showcases alternative use for location-based marketing

18th Aug 2015

According to the Drum, Coca-Cola is set to be the next big brand to turn to location-based marketing, following a beacon trial conducted in cinemas in Norway aimed at discovering the best methods for using the technology.

The trial itself was perhaps the most pertinent aspect of the announcement, as Coca-Cola’s team delivered the associated promotion through a popular, third-party app as opposed to trying to convince users to download their own app in order to be rewarded.

As a result they found that this method of delivering the campaign, when “not used in isolation”, was much more favourable than trying to engage customers through their own app.  

The pilot scheme, conducted throughout May and June, saw free Coke offered to cinema-goers if they had publisher VG’s already-popular app on their phone as they walked through CAPA foyers.

24% of the people that had the app on their phone clicked on the offer, while 50% collected their free Coke at the cinema and 60% of those went on to click on retargeting ads served up some time later and offered a free cinema ticket courtesy of the soft drinks giant.       

The positive results suggest that location-based marketing, (and the associated proximity/ beacon technology) does not necessarily have to be used by brands through their own mobile application, and can, in some cases, be more effective served via third-party sources.  

This has so far been a major issue for brands using beacons and location-based marketing techniques, as they’ve often developed purpose-built apps for the technology that have been unable to convince people to use them enough to make the associated promotions a success.

Knut Anders Thorset, senior manager of digital sales and marketing at Coca-Cola Enterprises Norway, told The Drum: “This trial proves that beacons enable brands like Coke to use existing media channels in new ways.

“The hyper-relevance beacons provide ensures that we can amplify our role and deliver something of real value to both retailers and consumers. Unacast (the media platform in which the data was then anonymously stored) has harnessed the power of proximity marketing, making it a genuinely viable, scalable channel. We look forward to the results from the further roll out.”

According to Adobe’s February Digital Trends 2015 report, just 8% of retailers currently use location-based technologies, compared with 23% of telecoms providers, 18% of financial services, 18% of consumer goods suppliers and 10% of travel and hospitality providers.

However, in terms of location-specific advertising, new research from xAd reports that 80% of marketers are now using location targeting techniques for mobile advertising campaigns, including audience targeting, designed to reach a specific group of people, and the associated technology is expected to become more and more popular in coming years as brands such as Coca-Cola continue to experiment with the most effective uses for it. 

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