When Portland-based Urban Airship acquired SimpleGeo, last year around this time, the promise of location-aware mobile communications came into stark focus. And while throwing something together quickly could have worked, UA was concerned that they deliver a service that worked exactly the right way.
Yesterday, they unveiled the new Location Messaging Service.
Push messaging is the voice of an app, reaching consumers whether the app is open or not. We’ve shown how Good Push messaging can quadruple app engagement, double retention and drive double-digit sales growth. Today, as we unveil our new Location Messaging Service, we fully anticipate innovative customers will blow away these metrics using everything they know about their app users to deliver highly personalized and relevant messages at the right time and place.
Our new Location Messaging Service enables marketers to combine in-app interests with user-controlled preferences and user location profiles to define precise audience segments for messaging. These extensive location profiles can include where consumers have been in the last minute to last year, using any combination of pre-defined real-world global location boundaries from industry-leading sources including Maponics, Nielsen DMA® and OpenStreetMap.
“Urban Airship is focused on best practices and technology to help ensure that mobile messages are as targeted and as relevant as possible for today’s consumers,” said Darrin Clement, CEO of Maponics. “Maponics leads the industry in providing accurate predefined geofences for location based services, and we’re pleased Urban Airship came to us to expand the wealth of geographic data available in its solution.”
And from the media coverage, it looks like the news was well received:
It’s a particularly enticing play for marketers, since it means they’ll have access to current locations and location histories from consumers. And for the consumer, the Location Messaging Service will make push alerts even more relevant — for example, you could see deals from sports venues while they’re attending a game, or receive targeted alerts when they’re near a favorite retailer.
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Built from the technology Urban Airship picked up when it acquired location platform SimpleGeo for $3.5 million in stock last year, the product promises to deliver ultra-precise advertising that benefits both consumers and brands.
Urban Airship has created 2.5 million unique geo-fences — everything from time zones and cities to neighborhoods or venues – that also allow developers to send different messages to people in the same area. For people attending a baseball game, for example, the local team’s app can push a survey or a special deal to people in attendance while alerting nearby users of available tickets. The Official London Olympics 2012 Join In app tested the service and sent more than 10 million location-based messages to people at Olympic venues and received a click-through rate of around 60 percent.
By bringing together extensive user and location data, Urban Airship aims to provide more precise targeting and better results than a location-related campaign using geo-fencing alone. The company says, for instance, that a retailer could create geo-fences around specific locations to send Black Friday offers tailored to the interests of (opted-in) shoppers who have also visited the stores in the past four weeks.
The new location-based service had its first big test this summer at the London Olympics when it was built into the Official London 2012 Join In app, which provided full event listings, a personal schedule and alerts feature, maps and related guide features.
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Smartphone users must opt-in to use the new service, so marketers can’t geospam potential clients — at least not without those prospects’ permission. Even so, Urban Airship has acknowledged the potential for abuse.
“We will totally fail if we don’t get this right,” Urban Airship CEO Scott Kveton said last spring, when the company outlined its geolocation plans. “We spend a lot of time thinking about privacy, about personally identifiable information.”
Urban Airship is the most globally deployed push messaging service, delivering billions of messages per month with unparalleled speed and scale for leading brands such as CBS Interactive, ESPN, Groupon, shopkick, Viddy, Walgreens and Warner Bros. Urban Airship enables these brands and 65,000 other customers to engage consumers directly on their mobile device home screens with precision-targeted mobile messaging. Complete mobile engagement suites offer easy and effective end-to-end management of the push messaging process from customer and location targeting, to automation and delivery, including message composition, rich landing page creation and analytics to optimize effectiveness. Its investors include Founder’s Co-op, Foundry Group, Intel Capital, salesforce.com, True Ventures and Verizon.
For more information, follow @urbanairship on Twitter or visit Urban Airship.