Urban Airship Brings New Geo-Precision To Targeting In-App Notifications

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Portland-Oregon based Urban Airship has launched a new location messaging product. It enables publishers and developers to deliver locally relevant messages from within their apps using a variety of precise location-targeting capabilities.

Specific locations can be excluded as well. Marketers could, for example, target a zip or neighborhood exclusively or equally block a specific area from receiving the notification.

I spoke last week with Urban Airship CMO Brent Heiggelke. He used the example of a sports team or event with unsold tickets. People in certain locations outside the stadium might be offered discount pricing to fill unsold seats, while those inside the stadium could be excluded from receiving the message.

To receive any of the Urban Airship powered messages users must have opted-in to push notifications. Heiggelke was quick to point out that brands and marketers must be extremely thoughtful about the content of messages they send and their frequency or risk having their notifications shut off or apps uninstalled.

In addition to pure location targeting other data can be added in to segment in-app audiences. This is what makes the product significant: precise geo-targeting in combination with other segments or layers. The following are the targeting capabilities and parameters offered by the new Urban Airship service:

  • Preferences: tags based on user-stated characteristics
  • In-App Behavior: tags you’ve defined based on explicit and implicit actions users have taken
  • Location: where they are now and where they’ve been

Urban Airship has created 2.5 million “pre-defined geofences,” however marketers can set up custom areas as well.

Heiggelke said the push messages, which can appear in the notifications bar or on the homescreen (see image above), help keep users engaged with apps in addition to accomplishing specific marketing or CRM objectives (e.g., letting people know about in-store sales nearby).

Urban Airship tested this product out during the London Olympics. The company said on its blog that “The Official London 2012 app . . . utilized Urban Airship Location Messaging to send more than 10 million location-based push messages to people in . . . Olympic venues.”

Performance was impressive. Urban Airship said that “Nearly 60% of app users had location-sharing enabled and location-based pushes achieved clickthrough rates of around 60 percent.”


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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