CBS has announced that it will try an experiment with cell phone advertising that is customized for a user’s location. Its CBS Mobile unit is teaming up with the social networking service Loopt, which allows its subscribers to track participating friends and family on their mobile phones.
The ads will appear on two Web sites that are tailored for mobile devices, CBS Mobile News and CBS Mobile Sports. By using Loopt’s GPS-based technology and capitalizing on its relationships with mobile carriers, CBS Mobile wants to make it easier for advertisers to aim promotions at consumers more precisely as they walk by particular stores and restaurants.
There is a growing belief among advertisers and marketers that Americans will embrace this type of advertising, as long as it is useful and not intrusive.
Mobile phone users already see national ads on Web pages, but with the CBS service, people who have chosen to participate might see an ad from a local business in the neighborhood. For now, the ads will be seen only by site visitors who have phones with GPS capabilities and are customers of carriers that have deals with Loopt.
CBS Mobile and Loopt are requiring that interested customers opt in once the ad service starts. And to further protect privacy, the ads will be delivered anonymously, and the viewer’s location history will not be stored.