Collider Media, with a platform that helps mobile marketers leverage complex user data to find, reach and convert the ideal audience for their brand or client, today shared data that indicates mobile area codes are becoming obsolete. That is, area codes are no longer an effective marketing tool for geographic targeting or customer identification as they no longer indicate where a person lives.
The mobile phone area code analysis conducted by Collider Media identified that today’s mobile phone owners maintain their number even when they move. Collider Media analyzed area codes in a few specific MSAs (metropolitan statistical area) and uncovered some surprising details. As one example, a full 10% each of the mobile phone owners with Boston or San Francisco area codes no longer live in Massachusetts or California.
In a more detailed look at the San Francisco MSA, 37% of mobile area codes no longer reside in the San Francisco MSA. In fact, 10% were out of state and the rest of the mobile phone numbers were distributed throughout California. While 63% of the San Francisco MSA mobile phone area codes were in the San Francisco MSA, a full 37% were not, which can be hugely misleading for marketers, and costly in terms of wasted advertising.
“Mobile phone numbers are like our new Social Security Number. We get our first one and no matter where we move to, we tend to keep it,” said Bryan Jones, founder and CEO of Collider Media. “We know this, our data proves it, yet so many marketers, so many brands, continue to use old measures, such as area codes, or other indicators, to do their targeting, to identify likely customers. Collider Media offers a better, more effective way.”
An example of Collider Media’s audience targeting capabilities is to provide marketers with insights to reach users at the zip code level versus the area code level. This type of hyper-targeting is very efficient for companies offering “Daily Deals” or businesses who know the radius in which they can attract consumers to their store or product. An example where this type of targeting is beneficial is in the 310 area code in Los Angeles. Even assuming that an area code is accurate to the city level, a person in Malibu and one in Torrance may receive the same offer because of their 310 area code. However, they’re 40 miles apart, plus LA traffic.
“If you’re a merchant, it’s safe to assume you would want to only target those consumers within a reasonable distance to your store,” said Jones.
Collider Media’s immense consumer data and effective mobile marketing platform delivers laser targeting and helps a brand get directly to the right person. This is a much better, more focused use of mobile marketing dollars, which are rapidly growing. Mobile advertising spending is expected to grow to $4 billion by 2015 according to a study by BIA/Kelsey. And with mobile phone penetration rates currently at 96% of the population, according to the CTIA, it is surprising so many brands continue to rely on potentially inaccurate indicators like area codes.
“Given the high penetration rate of mobile phones and increased advertising spend, brands and advertisers should use tools that give them a very clear idea of who they want to target for accurate, effective engagement. Your customers may not be where you think they are,” added Jones.
- Do area codes even matter anymore? (marketwatch.com)
- Anheuser-Busch is trying to trademark area codes across the country (boston.com)
- The United States of Connectedness (gigaom.com)