Announcing Place London, The Business Summit on Indoor Location

Opus Research is proud to announce that Place, the premier global venue for education, opinion and partnership development for the indoor location industry, will be hosted in London, England on November 17, 2014 at the Tower Hotel.

Place London offers a unique opportunity to learn, discuss and strategize how indoor traffic analytics, combined with mobile and online data, empowers business intelligence and consumer engagement.

Among the many topics for discussion at Place London 2014 include:

Opus Research Report: Survey of U.S. Retailers' Use of Indoor Location

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Recently, Opus Research surveyed a group of U.S. retailers — from Big Box, specialty store, grocery, electronics, department stores, convenience stores and more — to determine current trends and market perceptions regarding in-store marketing and indoor analytics. With a significant majority of consumers using smartphones in store (83% according to Opus Research study in Q3 2013), this survey revealed a high degree of interest from retailers in developing indoor analytics strategies but considerable confusion in understanding indoor location technologies and justifying a demonstrated return on investment.

To download and view this groundbreaking Opus Research survey, click the link below:

Survey of U.S. Retailers' Use of Indoor Location

Featured Research is available to registered users only.

For more information on becoming an I2G client, please contact Pete Headrick (pheadrick@opusresearch.net).


Beacon Case Study Shows Brand Content Equal to Offers for Driving Purchases

Agency BPN, together with inMarket, presented a Hillshire Brands in-store beacon marketing case study at the Place Conference in New York two weeks ago. This was the first time a national brand beacon case study had been presented publicly.

The company sought to build awareness, among 25 to 54 year olds, for its new "American Craft Sausage Links" -- with digital media exclusively. Hillshire worked with BPN and inMarket, leveraging the latter's shopping apps and its in-store iBeacon network.

Among other digital exposures, mobile users were shown geofenced display ads for the product near stores. These display ads invited users to add the product to an in-app shopping list. Once in grocery stores with beacons, smartphone users were sent a notification about where to find the product ("meat aisle").

In stores, smartphone owners were shown ads/content that featured offers or incentives to engage with and try the product. Others were shown pure awareness messages and branded content that didn't have an associated offer. 

BPN reported that the ads worked equally well. Indeed, pure content/awareness ads drove the same level of engagement and purchase intent as the offer-based ads. This is a major finding: brands don't need to offer coupons or deals to drive consumer purchase behavior. 

Overall the campaign was very successful. Roughly 1% of shoppers going in had any intention of buying the brand's link sausage. After exposure to the campaign purchase intent shot up to north of 21%. Brand awareness was boosted 36% according to BPN. 

This is an early proof-of-concept for in-store marketing and shows its significant potential to generate brand awareness, purchase intent and sales lift. Many billions of dollars are spent annually by CPG companies in grocery stores but rarely achieve these results. 

Accordingly this case study should cause brand marketers of all stripes and types to get going and start testing indoor and in-store marketing before their competitors beat them to the register. 

GameStop Tests Beacons in-Store but with a 'Pull' Twist

GameStop is the latest retailer to implement beacons in-store. Supplied by Shelfbucks (which spoke at the Place Conference), the company is testing in-store marketing in its Texas stores with the expectation that it will roll beacons out to 100 stores nationally by year end.

They will deliver "real-time promotions, ratings and reviews to the smartphones of consumers walking through the aisles of its shops," according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. The twist is that the implementation will be more of a "pull" scenario than the more conventional "push" model associated with beacons.

Users will be directed to signs on shelves that will offer promotions and product information when they get close enough. Technically that information will still be "pushed" to them via GameStop's app. But they'll have to approach the beacons, which will be clearly marked.

Essentially it's an opt-in, "pull" model not very conceptually different from scanning a QR code on in-store signage. However message delivery won't require QR-code scanning effort by the consumer. 

The article also says that GameStop intends to deliver personalized promotions to in-store shoppers "based on their purchase history, titles in their product 'wish lists' and their game libraries."

Our surveys and those of third parties have well established the point that consumers will willingly participate in these programs if there's transparency and a value exchange. The prospect of relevant content, reviews and promotions, in this case, will be sufficient to gain most GameStop customers' voluntary participation and engagement.

Mobile Ad Acceptance, Engagement Have Improved Dramatically Since Last Year

The third Mobile Path-to-Purchase study (US) from Nielsen, xAd and Telmetrics is out. The data come from a mix of survey findings and behavioral observation from Nielsen's smartphone panel.

The big messages of the study are:

  • Mobile ads are now more accepted and seen as less annoying, with a big improvement since last year 
  • Consumers would rather have ad-supported content than pay for content on mobile devices
  • Though there's still a high percentage (40%) of accidental clicks, those who intentionally click and engage in "secondary actions" are highly interested, valuable potential purchasers  
  • Coupons/offers and local relevance are the big drivers of mobile ad engagement

As one sign that the quality and relevance of mobile ads in the US are improving, 47% of study respondents had a positive view of advertising on mobile devices compared with 22% last year. 

 Attitudes toward mobile ads

While there was a 40% accidental click rate, those who intentionally clicked on ads and engaged in secondary actions were more likely to purchase within a very short period of time. Just under half (47 percent) of those who clicked on a mobile ad took some form of secondary action:

 Mobile ads secondary action

More than 70% of those who took secondary actions were "looking to make a purchase within the same day." This plays into the conventional industry observation that people on mobile devices are more "ready to buy" than shoppers on PCs. This is not always true but seems to be as a crude generalization. 

. Mobile ad engagement

Perhaps most interesting was the finding that coupons and local relevance were the biggest drivers of mobile ad clicks. Coupons had a greater impact among those under 40, while local relevance became a more important variable for those over 40. These trumped ads that featured a known brand. Imagine how well an ad that featured a known brand, offered a deal and were locally relevant would perform. 

Coupons vs. local relevance in mobile ads

There's also an infographic that features additional data and findings. 

Place 2014 - Agenda and Presentations

Place 2014, the leading industry event produced by Opus Research and held July 22 in New York City, brought together a range of developments and ideas: indoor location, online-to-offline tracking, and proximity-based mobile marketing. The agenda and presentations below reflect the what’s next for indoor location with perspectives and expertise from brands, retailers, agencies, technology providers, regulators, and investors.

Place 2014 Sponsors
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Agenda & Presentations

9:00 AM - 9:15 AM
The Place-Based Moment - Opus Research senior analyst Greg Sterling will present new data and original research on in-store consumer behavior, the “privacy paradox” as well as merchant demand for offline analytics and in-store marketing.
Speaker: Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst, Opus Research
View slides from this presentation

9:15 AM - 9:45 AM
The Agency Perspective - Michael Lieberman is Co-President of Joule US, where he oversees the expansion of Joule’s East Coast business. Based in New York, Michael heads up teams responsible for delivering mobile strategy, media and creative services that produce effective mobile campaigns for world-famous brands including AT&T, Dell, Colgate, and Ikea.
Michael Lieberman, Co-President, Joule US

9:45 AM - 10:25 AM
The Indoor Technology All-Stars - Google’s Don Dodge will lead a discussion with companies representing the full range of indoor location technologies, from WiFi to BLE beacons and LED lighting. From cost, accuracy and analytics perspectives, which technologies are “must haves” and which ones are “nice to haves”?
Speakers:
Nathan Pettyjohn, Founder & CEO, aisle411
Chris Goodall, Founder & CEO, Trusted Positioning
Dan Ryan, Co-Founder & CEO, ByteLight
Steve Cheney, SVP of Business and Operations, Estimote
Don Dodge, Developer Advocate, Google (Moderator)

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Ahead of the Curve: Alex and Ani - Alex and Ani’s Digital Strategy VP Ryan Bonifacino discusses the insights and opportunity that led the jewelry retailer to test and then rapidly deploy indoor location to all its stores across the U.S. – well ahead of its retail peers.

11:15 AM - 11:30 AM
Indoor Atlas and Magnetic Positioning
Wibe Wagemans, President, IndoorAtlas
View slides from this presentation

11:30 AM - 12:10 PM
Connecting the Dots: How Location and Offline Analytics Will Transform Digital Marketing - Offline location data and analytics will deliver huge dividends to retailers, ad networks and marketers in general. They will enable better visibility into campaign effectiveness and permit new levels of personalization and targeting. What will this new world of integrated data look like and how will it change digital and traditional marketing?
Speakers:
Juha Mattsson, VP, Marketing & Sales, Walkbase
Anne Marie Stephen, VP of Sales, iInside
Maria Fernandez Guajardo, VP of Products, RetailNext
Luke Edson, VP, Sales, YP
Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst, Opus Research (moderator)

12:10 PM - 12:25 PM
Case Study: SK Telecom - John Kim, Senior Business Development Manager with SK Telecom, will discuss multiple deployments of indoor location technology in the South Korean market.
View slides from this presentation

1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Featured Speaker: Facebook - Doug Stotland is in charge of local solutions for both small and large businesses marketing on Facebook. Prior to his current role, Stotland worked on marketing science, pricing and building Facebook’s teams across Asia and the Pacific. Stotland will discuss Facebook's varied and creative efforts to track and measure the offline and in-store impact of Facebook advertising.

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Beacon Location Security & Encryption
Jimmy Buchheim, CEO, StickNFind
View slides from this presentation

2:15 PM - 2:55 PM
Indoor Location & Privacy: Steering Clear of the ‘Creepy Line’ - Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director and Co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, will guide a diverse panel of industry observers, marketers and experts through treacherous waters: how to drive engagement without crossing the “creepy line.” What are the issues and emerging best practices? And will the “surveillance” backlash derail merchant adoption of indoor location?
Speakers:
Maya Mikhailov, EVP and Co-Founder, GPShopper
Amanda Koulousias, Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
Kate Kaye, Writer, Advertising Age
Eloïse Gratton, National Co-chair, Privacy Practice Group, McMillan LLP
Jules Polonetsky, Executive Director, Future of Privacy Forum (Moderator)

2:55 PM - 3:10 PM
Hillshire Brands, inMarket and iBeacon - Agency BPN will present a new case study showcasing how beacons and geofencing are driving purchase intent, brand awareness and sales for Hillshire Brands.
Speakers:
Chris Hiland, Chief Strategy Officer, BPN
Todd Dipaola, CEO & Founder, inMarket
Presentation coming soon

3:25 PM - 3:40 PM
Best Practices for Consumer Push Notifications
Scott Townsend, Director of Agency Programs, Urban Airship
View slides from this presentation

3:40 PM - 4:20 PM
Street, Store or Shelf: Rightsizing the Consumer Experience - Indoor location and proximity marketing allow retailers, networks and brands to put marketing messages in front of consumers at strategic points in stores, malls and other venues. But just because it can happen doesn’t mean it should. What’s most effective in geo-fencing and proximity targeting? When is it best to engage consumers and how do we avoid creating more ad clutter and noise?
Speakers:
James Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Verve
John Dempsey, Head of Mobile and Video, Datalogix
Catherine Lindner,Chief Merchant Officer, Shelfbucks
Asif Khan, Founder & President, LBMA (Moderator)

4:20 PM - 4:35 PM
Comparing Indoor Location Technologies - GISi Indoors will discuss the company’s real-world comparisons of multiple indoor location technologies, its findings, implementation experiences, when and when not to use it and conclusions.
Michael Healander, General Manager, GISi Indoors
View slides from this presentation

4:35 PM - 5:15 PM
Whither Geofencing: What Is the Future of Mobile Location? - Location is now often used for mobile audience discovery and profiling rather than for real-time location targeting. In some percentage of cases, location thus “disappears” into the background and becomes a proxy for behavioral and demographic information. How far will this trend go? What role will “geo” play in the future of mobile marketing and advertising? The panel will explore these and other provocative questions about the future of location and place-based marketing.
Speakers:
David Shim, CEO & Co-Founder, Placed
Eli Portnoy, President & General Manager, Thinknear
David Staas, President, NinthDecimal
Sarah Ohle, Director of Marketing Intelligence, xAd
Bill Michels, SVP of Product & Partnerships, Factual
Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst, Opus Research (Moderator)

Facebook and Twitter Q2: Large Majority (over 60%) of Ad Revs from Mobile

Last week Facebook released very favorable Q2 2014 earnings. Today Twitter followed with an impressive quarter of its own, handily beating financial analysts' estimates. In after hours trading Twitter is up more than 30%. 

Below is a recap of all the relevant mobile numbers from both releases. 

Facebook:

  • Total revenue: $2.91 billion
  • Total ad revenue: $2.68 billion  
  • Mobile ad revenue: 62% or $1.66 billion 
  • Mobile monthly active users: 1.07 billion (vs. 1.32 billion total) 
  • Mobile daily active users: 654 million (v. 829 million total) 

Facebook made, on average, $1.25 in Q2 ad revenue per monthly active mobile user.

Twitter:  

  • Total revenue: $312 million
  • Ad revenue $277 million
  • Mobile ad revenue: 81% of total or $224 million 
  • Mobile active users: 211 million (out of 271 monthly active users total)  

Twitter made, on average, $1.06 in Q2 ad revenue per mobile active user.

What's remarkable is that two of the largest US internet companies gain well over 50% of their ad revenues -- in Twitter's case it's over 80% -- from mobile distribution. This is both a metaphor for and direct evidence of the importance of mobile. 

Unlike many of their peers, Facebook and Twitter are platforms/publishers much more directly aligned with their users' behavior.  

Saks Fifth Avenue Parent the Latest Retailer to Roll Out iBeacons

The largest iBeacon retail rollout to date is the one announced earlier this year by American Eagle Outfitters. The company said it will put iBeacons in all 100 stores across the US. However it's not clear where that stands at the moment. Walgreens, Safeway, Alex and Ani and several other retailers have also deployed Bluetooth beacons to varying degrees in their stores. 

This morning Hudson's Bay Company said it joing the club. The retailer, which also owns the Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue chains, said it will roll out beacons (with Swirl) in selected stores in Boston and Toronto:

HBC Department Store Group is deploying the Swirl in-store beacon marketing platform to deliver digital experiences to consumers’ smartphones while they shop in the company’s department stores in Canada and the US. Using beacons installed in merchandising areas throughout its stores, Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor will automatically deliver branded content and personalized offers to in-store shoppers through an array of company-owned and third party mobile apps.

The stores will deliver messages via their own mobile apps through Swirl. Though Swirl still has limited visibility among most consumers, it's clear that retailers must pursue a multi-pronged strategy with smartphone shoppers. They need a combination of their own apps and some third party distribution or marketing to build in-store smartphone audiences. 

One related development that's very promising for retailers, which generally don't see high app-penetration rates, is the prospect of GPS-enabled mobile browser-based notifications. I wrote about this development earlier today. A company called Roost has developed push notifications for the web and will soon roll them out to mobile browsers.

This would enable retailers (and others) to get users on the PC to opt-in to notifications, which could potentially later be sent to nearby and in-store customers through the browser, even though those users don't have the retailers' apps on their phones. While this isn't yet available it's a potentially big deal for retailers.

My understanding is that BLE beacon signals wouldn't be receivable by these non-app browser users. Nonetheless, browser-based notifications could be used as a "fall back" or alternative way to message in-store consumers for those who don't have the retailers' apps. 

Survey Reveals Most Common Reasons Consumers Use Merchant Apps

A new survey about digital wallet usage from Thrive Analytics also contains findings about why consumers download and use merchant apps. While nearly 90% of time with mobile is spent "in apps," most consumers don't have many (or any) retailer apps on their phones.

This is something of a paradox and a major gating factor for indoor location and marketing. Unlike mobile wallet usage, foundational consumer behavior for indoor marketing is already well established: between 70% and nearly 90% of smartphone owners use their devices in stores already. 

However to leverage indoor location and improve the in-store experience, using mobile, apps are required. That's the challenge for retailers. 

The chart below reflects what the Thrive survey (n=2,038 US adults) found about the reasons that smartphone owners use merchant apps:

Source: Thrive Analytics, July 2014 (n=2,038)

To some degree this list reflects what's possible in retail apps today. I believe however that merchants must make their apps much more utilitarian in terms of the in-store experience than they currently are. Using indoor location retailer apps can recognize that consumers are in a store and transform from an e-commerce centric experience to one that focuses on common consumer needs in the store. 

This includes offering more in-store product information, maps and the ability to pay using an app. To the extent that retailers can further develop their apps as in-store assistants and incorporate payments they will give users much more reason to download and retain them.

Preview of Place Conference 2014

When we launched the Place Conference late last year we felt that the time was ripe to hold an event that started to engage discussion around indoor location. But not simply indoor location; we wanted to "connect the dots" between indoor location, broader mobile marketing and online to offline tracking and attribution.

The first Place Conference in San Francisco was a unique event and a big hit. Roughly eight months have elapsed since that time and tomorrow's Place 2014 event reflects the rapid evolution of the market. We're at a moment when mobile marketing is really starting to take off -- expectations are that mobile advertising in the US will be north of $15B in 2014 -- and whe consumers are using their smartphones as shopping assistants in ever larger numbers.

Tomorrow's event at the W Hotel in Union Square will feature a range of speakers and and attendees who don't usually come to the same conferences: agencies, retailers, brands, technology companies, investors, lawyers and representatives of non-profits and government. 

Here's the very packed agenda (and my shorthand): 

  • The Place-Based Moment: Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst, Opus Research (consumer research and market sizing)
  • The Agency Perspective: Conversation with Michael Lieberman (agency perspective on the state of mobile and indoor location)
  • The Indoor Technology All-Stars with Don Dodge (array of providers discussing their capabilities)
  • Ahead of the Curve: Alex and Ani - Ryan Bonifacino, VP of Digital Strategy (why one retailer went all-in with indoor location early)
  • IndoorAtlas and Magnetic Positioning (an indoor technology that doesn't require hardware that you may not have heard of)
  • Connecting the Dots: How Location and Offline Analytics Will Transform Digital Marketing (indoor analytics and how it will impact digital broadly)
  • Case Study: SK Telecom (multiple use cases from South Korea)
  • Featured Speaker: Facebook’s Doug Stotland (how the company is connecting the dots from online to offline)
  • Beacon Location Security & Encryption (best practices for iBeacon and BLE)
  • Indoor Location & Privacy: Steering Clear of the ‘Creepy Line’ (experts discuss how to handle mobile location, indoor location and consumer privacy)
  • Hillshire Brands, inMarket and iBeacon (the first national brand case study using iBeacon)
  • Best Practices for Consumer Push Notifications (Urban Airship shares best practices from its many billions of campaigns)
  • Street, Store or Shelf: Rightsizing the Consumer Experience (what's going to work and how to avoid spamming consumers)
  • Comparing Indoor Location Technologies (an objective comparison of indoor location technologies for brands, retailers and agencies)
  • Whither Geofencing: What Is the Future of Mobile Location? (a forward looking discussion about location and mobile advertising)

If you're going to be in the room you'll be immersed in discussion about the future of mobile, location and offline attribution. These trends are coming together with profound implications for all digital marketers and brands. It's going to be an exhausting yet exhilarating day.