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Here Come Targeted Mobile Coupons. Really

Mobile coupons are a favorite of both advertiser and consumer for clear reasons: consumers don’t mind having their devices touched by commercial interests if they get a deal out of it' advertisers know they have the user’s attention. Ever since coupons’ love affair with mobile technology began a few years ago, the ideal was the targeted consumer: someone on hoof, near a, say, Starbucks or local pub, who might be interested in 10% off a morning coffee or happy hour special. While such offers are seen here and there in the market, usually courtesy Foursquare or Gowalla, they are by no means the majority of offerings.

Only slightly more than four in 10 (43%) mobile advertising campaigns last year were aimed at a targeted audience, with 57% launched as broad reach campaigns, according to a Millennial Media SMART Report (via MarketingCharts). When people were targeted, they were largely done by geography (40%). According to prior Millennial Media analysis, this targeted reach method resonates strongly with advertisers in the travel vertical, particularly hotels and resorts, who are able to reach visitors new to the area with relevant messages.

Google's Ploy

That all may change when Google and Apple embrace near-field communications. While neither company has commented formally on their plans there have been numerous leaks that both are working on technology that will allow consumers to pay for items at a retail point of sale by waiving their devices at a special reader. The latest anonymous-sourced report comes from the Wall Street Journal.

With Google on track to building and delivering this functionality for Android - according to the Journal that is - advertisers can expect more ad options for mobile users. The Journal article posits that Google will not be taking a cut of the transaction. Rather it will share data with retailers about these mobile users, allowing them to deliver targeted mobile ads to their devices, with coupons being a top format.

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