At the Borrell Local Mobile Advertising Conference in Chicago this week, both marketers and media companies were reminded that local mobile advertising as a marketing channel will arrive in 2012. Local mobile ad spending this year will likely reach $788 million and perhaps double next year. Savvy marketers are already gearing up with mobile holiday promotions. They may suspect what Insight Express has proven with research: Smart phone and tablet users comprise a lucrative audience.

Consumers who own smart phones or tablets plan to spend $300 or more this holiday season and a good chunk of that spending will take place via their mobile devices. Data presented by Joy Liuzzo, Senior Director at Insight Express, shows that many of these tech-savvy consumers are already shopping. In addition, marketers need to understand that men are using their phones differently than women for shopping purposes.

In reviewing her research, Liuzzo was surprised to find that men with smart phones are far more likely to tap this device as a shopping resource in warehouse stores, hardware stores and automotive parts stores. The old adage that men will not ask for directions or help is proving true in the shopping environment. They prefer to turn to their smart phone instead of the sales clerk in a traditional store.

In addition, Insight Express research points to the following top 3 uses of smart phones by consumers when they are shopping:

  • Looking up reviews: 63%
  • Checking prices: 46%
  • Reading best use tips for a product: 44%

Other top activities include taking a picture of a product they intend to purchase and sending it to a key partner in the decision-making process. Over 1/3rd of smart phone shoppers are interacting in this way.

In sharing this data, Liuzzo’s point was that once a shopper is in a store, a marketer’s mobile campaign, whether national, regional, or local, can make a difference with respect to finalizing a sale. A well-designed mobile app can convince a shopper to buy, if the price is right.

The mobile campaign, in these cases, works well as a complementary part of a broader initiative that might have included traditional media such as newspaper or TV which encouraged the shopper to enter the store.

Liuzzo also explained that mobile can stand well on its own as a marketing force. In studying how mobile compares to other media formats with respect to swaying purchase intent, mobile came in at 11.3%. In comparison, TV moves purchase intent 5.6% while print moves intent by 6.4%.

Some marketers are still hesitant to experiment with mobile but new data from Insight Express might change that. The research shop’s findings show that 50% of male smart phone users shop with their devices. And on Thanksgiving Day, when this audience isn’t eating or watching football on TV, 16% of them will be buying Christmas gifts on their phones.

[Source: Local Mobile Advertising Conference 2011. Web. October 3, 2011]