Geolocation adds a new layer for publishers to deliver content in the right place at the right time ― and it's no longer passive. Playboy, which has long been telling users about the hottest nightlife, recently launched a location-triggered content delivery that sends recommendations to users based on their location and the time.
Playboy's new Scout app, available on Android and coming to other platforms in the future, sends notifications to users when they are in the vicinity of recommended nightlife venues. The app is starting in New York and Los Angeles, featuring offers and information about events, clubs and bars reviewed and recommended by Playboy's editors.
The app was created using Xtify
, a platform for delivering geo-targeted mobile messages. CEO Josh Rochlin told me the platform can deliver messages even when an app is closed, giving publishers the opportunity to engage with users even when the brand is off their mind. It essentially brings the concept of e-mail marketing to apps, where publishers are only beginning to figure out how to communicate and engage users, he explained.
"You can now start having a full engagement with your mobile audiences,” Rochlin said.
Geo-targeted consumption, monetization
Paul Lee, managing director of new digital ventures at Playboy Enterprises, Inc., said the Scout app has two goals: offering a new delivery channel and creating a new revenue stream.
“From the standpoint of consuming content, whether it be offers or reviews, we wanted to be in a channel that we know will be rapidly growing,” he said. It's one thing to read a review in a magazine, and it's another to have Playboy deliver the review right to your phone when you're nearby, he added.
On the monetization front, Lee wouldn't share Playboy's plans, but he said the publisher is “working on some things” for cross-platform monetization in 2011. He noted there will be opportunities to partner with venues and nightlife events that are relevant to the Playboy brand.
The app's content is editorially driven — with no paid-for listings — and focuses on quality over quantity, he said. “We don't want to be the BlackBook or Zagat of that space,” he added.
When I asked whether they've used geolocation before, Lee made a relevant point that Playboy has been doing live events for years — adding digital to the mix is just another delivery method for location-based content.