business messaging blog
How “smart cars” are changing mobile marketing
Scott Navratil

When most people think about mobile devices, they’re talking about smartphones, tablets, or wearable tech like smartwatches. But the way we define mobile is getting bigger—literally. In fact, many vehicles can now be considered mobile devices in a sense. First of all, they’re literally mobile, and second of all, they’re connected to the internet and include various smart features that we usually associate with traditional mobile devices.

The number of so-called connected cars or “smart cars” on the road is growing at an incredible rate. In fact, the connected car market is growing at a rate ten times that of the overall car market. Analysts predict that by the year 2020, 75% of all vehicles on the road will be connected to the internet. These large mobile devices have huge implications for mobile marketers.

Contextually relevant advertising

While mobile marketing channels like SMS or in-app advertising have proven themselves to be quite effective, they still share a setback with more traditional advertising: they have to motivate people to get off their couches and go out to a place of business. This is where connected vehicles come in. Since all connected cars have built in GPS systems, advertisers would be able to send targeted messages to potential customers when they’re in the vicinity. These contextually relevant ads would be more effective because the customer is already 90% of the way from home to the place of business and much more likely to act on an offer.

Geo-targeted offers

Connected cars’ ability to track users’ behavior in real time is something that business owners can marketers can capitalize on. For instance, when a vehicle’s “low fuel” indicator light turns on, it could automatically trigger a dashboard advertisement or text message that is displayed on screen for a nearby gas station or perhaps a message about a deal that a nearby gas station is offering.

Location-based marketing and smartphones

Location-based marketing won’t be something new to connected cars. Phones and tablets also have built-in GPS and in recent years, marketers have been tapping into that information to provide location-based offers via text message when consumers enter or approach a place of business. It’s proven to be even more effective than traditional SMS marketing. But connected cars are an opportunity to get even more information about consumers and their behavioral patterns to target advertisements more effectively.

Issues of privacy

As connected cars and location-based advertising becomes more prominent, there will of course be issues of privacy to address. Consumers already have to give permission to receive text messages and app notifications and they have to choose to allow their phone to share its location with apps. Connected vehicles will probably operate in a similar fashion.

One thing is for certain, connected cars will be changing mobile marketing in the near future.


Chantel Fullilove

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