Ad network and e-marketing company 1020 is researching how consumers will respond to ads sent to their mobile devices based on their proximity to physical stores. Two retailers are preparing to send mobile ads through 1020's Placecast marketing service.

Imagine a retailer being able to tap a customer on the shoulder as she’s walking down the street and tell her that, if she keeps walking three more blocks, she can come in to the Main Street store and receive 10% off any purchase.

That’s what ad network and online marketing company 1020 Inc. is bringing to life as it launches this week a research effort that will precede three clients running location-based ad campaigns via mobile phones.

The Alert Shopper research program involves a survey by Harris Interactive commissioned by 1020 and interviews with consumers conducted by 1020 staff members. The goal is to learn as much as possible about how consumers use their mobile phones and what they would like from the devices. An increasing number of advertisers, including retailers, have been running integrated web and mobile ad campaigns on the Placecast network, driving the company to invest more in mobile technology.

The company operates the 1020 Placecast ad network and creative service. There are more than 250 site publishers in the network, all with content relevant to location. For example, weather sites where users type in ZIP codes and travel sites where users enter origination and destination.


As the research progresses, three clients-a specialty apparel retailer, an outdoor products retailer and a restaurant chain-will launch ad campaigns with 1020’s soon-to-be-debuted Shop Alerts program. This style of campaign will locate consumers visiting the sites within the network using various technologies-including the aforementioned ZIP code and other data entered into sites, cell-tower triangulation, smartphone GPS, Wi-Fi hotspot location, and more. It pinpoints a consumer within what the company calls a geo-fence, a small or large geographic location, based on an advertiser’s needs.

When a consumer who has opted in to a retailer’s Shop Alerts program enters a geo-fence, they receive a marketing text message from that retailer with highly specific location information, such as store location or a click-to-call store phone number, or ad creative that includes references to the neighborhood or city. For consumers with mobile phones with Internet access, they can click on a hyperlink that sends them to a landing page with an online display ad with location-based material.

Now that consumers are doing so much more on their mobile devices, the importance of location is that much more relevant-I want things that are relevant for me where I am and while I’m there, says Alistair Goodman, CEO of 1020. We have already heard loud and clear from initial research that if you can design a service that is useful for consumers on their mobile phones, they’re interested in using it. This is the epitome of marketing as a service, not marketing as an intrusion.