Two announcements within a day of one another may indicate the next trend in mobile advertising. Call them alerts or push notifications or finely tuned geo-targeting, but don't be alarmed someday soon if the very second you walk past a business you receive a message on your mobile device with news of a sale taking place inside.
It has been a much-anticipated marketing concept for some time, but this week several companies made public their plans to implement the practice. AT&T has partnered with mobile marketing firm Placecast to send ShopAlerts to users in just such a fashion, and location-based service Loopt announced its launch of Reward Alerts.
ShopAlerts will be available as an opt-in service for AT&T customers in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The mobile messages will provide users with coupons and offers based on their whereabouts at the time the alert is sent, using geo-fencing location technology with which the carrier can determine when a user is within 1.5 miles of a store or brand. Companies already signed on to participate in the service include Kmart, Kohl's, Nature's Recipe and others.
Reward Alerts, meanwhile, is set to begin testing next week at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. The implementation will be a little bit different, but the concept is virtually the same.
Limited-time and perishable-inventory deals from advertisers such as Southwest Airlines, Microsoft, TiVo and others will be made available to Loopt users attending the conference. Rewards notifications will be sent out to users in very specific locations, along with instructions on where to collect a first-come, first-served reward or Flash Deal. Following the conclusion of the conference, Reward Alerts will be rolling out as an opt-in service much like ShopAlerts in select cities across the U.S.
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