Throughout 2012, though, place-based targeting (targeting users that are in or around specific places of business) was the most popular form of audience targeting, leveraged in 67% of campaigns. Comparatively fewer used search behavioral targeting (20%), although it grew 212% between Q1 and Q4, faster than any other form.
The study reveals that advertisers became much more sophisticated during the year: the percentage of campaigns using standard geo-targeting (zip, city, DMA) dropped from 64% in Q1 to just 13% in Q4. At the same time, the proportion using geo-precision (such as geo-fencing and geo-specific behavior targeting) tripled from 27% to 81%. Verve Mobile noted a similar trend in its year-in-review study.
- Restaurants were the top search category for 2012, followed by travel, health and beauty, retail, and professional services.
- The top advertising categories for the year were telecom, financial services/insurance, and travel.
- New York was the top city for mobile search activity, though the South led regionally with 4 of the top 10. And while San Francisco was the most targeted city for mobile ads (in terms of impressions served), the South and the Midwest tied for regional honors.
About the Data: Metrics and insights are based on xAd’s network and campaign data (January 2012–December 2012) from over 1.5 million advertisers.