This week’s news of Facebook’s continued advertising revenue growth for four straight quarters underscores the enormous shift in digital marketing to the mobile platform. The social media giant’s quarterly earnings report showed that mobile ad revenue now accounts for 85% of the company’s earnings. But Facebook is not alone in seeking to exploit the digital marketing opportunity. Major companies such as Sears and Esurance are adopting new technologies to reach mobile-oriented consumers, and don’t be surprised if some advertisers begin to reach out with special deals and promotions because they know exactly where you are.

Device use is shaping new marketing approaches

Current and future trends in the advertising world was the focus of the Modern Marketing Summit (MMS), a day-long gathering of technology marketing executives earlier this week in San Francisco. Speakers included Kerem Tomak, a former Google executive who now runs marketing and analytics for Sears, and he addressed the need to tailor marketing strategies which recognise the new reality of our technology-dependent world. “The endgame is to make my life easier with the technology I have in my hand,” said Tomak.

More often than not, that technology will be a smartphone and the challenge for advertisers today is how to reach consumers who are constantly on the move.

The answer, as many speakers described during the MMS gathering this week, could well be location-based advertising where smartphone users in the vicinity of a retail store may suddenly see a promotional message or coupon for that business appear on their screen.

One company that has developed specialised technology in this area is SITO Mobile.

The New Jersey-based firm collects smartphone ID, time, and location information from the device and channels that for clients who can then generate a site-specific ad via a mobile app.

SITO Mobile's client list includes Whole Foods and McDonald’s. If a user would prefer to “opt out” of receiving location-based ads, they must turn off the location services control on their device.

“Location is really strategic and meaningful in a lot of ways,” said Kimberly Trouville Smith, an executive with Foursquare who spoke during a panel discussion at MMS in San Francisco.

Foursquare, a local search and discovery mobile app, is also developing new technology to address the location-based needs of advertisers. They are seeking to provide marketing clients with meaningful data about whether a particular ad campaign was effective through a tool called Attribution. Foursquare relies on a panel of over a million users who agree to keep their location services function turned on, and then they are tracked around the clock to determine how many times they visited a client’s store.

Advertisers move beyond traditional TV

Location tracking is not the only new tool that advertisers are using. Firms like Esurance and others are also embracing social media to involve customers and increase brand awareness. The online home and auto insurance company ran a traditional TV ad before and after this year’s Super Bowl that involved a $1 million giveaway prize for users who re-Tweeted an Esurance hashtag during the game.

According to Alan Gellman, the head of marketing for Esurance who also spoke at MMS this week, their Super Bowl promotion received the most social media mentions of any advertiser during the game and generated more audience impressions than the TV spot itself. “Modern marketing does include TV,” said Gellman, but he emphasised that advertisers must learn to adapt and embrace new digital toolswhich can enhance the message.

Facebook’s success in translating their website into a lucrative mobile platform is now leading advertisers to pursue their online audience with a vengeance. As the advertising industry evolves, be prepared for an onslaught of digital marketing that will take full advantage of who and where we are.