Apple Pay Could Mean Shoppable Paths for Mobile Search

Content Takeover Mobile & Local SearchA new mobile wallet ad feature uses beacon and geo-location technology to draw in customers, but it could also potentially make search shoppable.

Vibes, a leading mobile marketing technology company, has recently patented a product that will allow mobile users to save offers in banner ads directly to Apple Passbook and Google Wallet with just the tap of a finger. The “tap and save” technology will save consumers the pain of having to download an app or wrestle with a mobile site to get to coupons and offers from advertisers.

As mobile wallets become more accepted by consumers, advertisers are going to have to rethink the way that customers interact with mobile ads: whether banner, paid search, or even social, according to Vibes’ vice president of mobile wallet advertising Brian Bradtke.

“In late October, Apple rolled out Apple Pay and Apple Passbook as an offering to the market, and we’ve seen adoption [of mobile wallets] increase dramatically in that three- or four-month period,” says Bradtke. “A lot of people are adopting Google Wallet and Apple Passbook for offers and promotions. So we think the timing is right; the market and consumers are accepting it.”

Geo-location and beacon technology play a large part in making mobile wallets both accessible and utilitarian. Geo-location tags can be added to any piece of Passbook or Google Wallet, and once users get within range of brick-and-mortar locations, push notifications appear on lock screens to update users of available offers. iBeacons placed near displays and registers serve the same purpose for Apple Pay users. But Mark Tack, vice president of marketing for Vibes, thinks advertisers will soon be able to make better use of location targeting through mobile wallets.

“Location is really at the core of the value attached to mobile wallets,” says Tack. “Think about a loyalty program. Imagine iBeacons placed near the cash register and near the entrance of the store in any of your loyalty member’s Passbook. That loyalty program will appear on the lock screen with information like point balance and reward certificates. We’ve started to turn these mobile wallet apps on the phone into our shopping companions.”

Search could also become mobile users’ shopping companion. Advertisers may soon opt to add a destination URL for a mobile wallet coupon feature to provide relevant offers and coupons right to users’ mobile devices along with search results.

“I think activating search with wallet is the next wave after advertising,” says Tack. “It’s early days. This is absolutely a new frontier. We’re talking to quite a few chief marketing officers (CMOs) about testing mobile wallet technology in search. Because of the great results that CMOs are seeing across the other use cases and the significant expenditures on search they’re absolutely looking for ways to increase redemption and sales results.”

As interest in mobile wallets technology grows and more consumers adopt Google Wallet and Apple Pay into their daily routines, advertisers should prepare to get creative, says Bradtke. “Right now, we’re starting pretty simple by putting a link in a banner ad, but in short order you will see all sorts of new implementations of this link, making mobile ads much more actionable and user-friendly.”

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