As mobile strengthens its influence on the entire purchase path, brands are adopting new mobile marketing strategies to connect consumers on-the-go and usher them into their stores. Mobile queries for “near me” more than tripled between 2015 and 2017, illuminating the need for a hyper-local mobile marketing strategy.

Mobile display advertising is an easy way for brands to highlight information about their stores to nearby customers. However, only 60% of retail brands posted drive-to-store display ads in 2017, according to Gartner L2’s Mobile Marketing: Driving to Store reportMoreover, only 2% of mobile display ad creatives were store-related in 2017, a 30% decrease year over year.

Mobile marketing

Surprisingly, specialty retail brands are spearheading efforts in mobile display. Over 5% of mobile display ads were store-focused within this sector in 2017, compared with 1.6% and 0.2% among big box and department store brands, respectively. This category has made strides largely due to home furnishing brands’ attempts to reinvigorate their stores as destinations.

Brands like Restoration Hardware are doubling down on their stores, launching regional hubs that include restaurants, and even publishing their own catalogs. The brand refined its display ad strategy to focus on driving to stores in 2017, and its spending on drive-to-store ads tripled year over year, nearly quadrupling for mobile specifically.

Restoration Hardware

Throughout the year, Restoration Hardware showcased limited-time store sales, and in some cases, new store openings. The ads had clear links to maximize click-through; the brand also layered in a distinct holiday strategy, scheduling store openings in October and November 2017. To encourage store traffic, Restoration Hardware advertised the openings in an ad campaign that linked to each specific store locator page. In fact, half of the brand’s ads with specific store linking destinations occurred in Q4, demonstrating the success of this strategy.

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