Next step for app notifications: Location-based messages

Urban Airship, which powers many notification platforms for apps, wants to make mobile messaging more accurate.

Urban Airship can send specific notifications to just people in sports arenas, such as Autzen Stadium at the University of Oregon. Urban Airship

Urban Airship wants to wed its push notification service with location and history data to provide more accurate and timely alerts.

The company, which provides a push-notification platform to various parties (including CNET), unveiled its Location Messaging Service today. The service allows its partners to tap into a user's location history to provide notifications such as news, deals, and other alerts. Consumers have to opt into the service for each app to allow Urban Airship and that specific app to look into their history and send notifications.

Location-based notifications are seen as a boon to retailers looking for a way to reel consumers in. By pairing location with a person's travel history, Urban Airship can send notifications to someone who regularly shops at a particular store, as opposed to someone who just happens to walk by a story and hits the virtual geo-fence set up around the location. Retailers can better target repeat customers through the notifications.

The expectation is that improved app notification will better connect consumers with their favorite stores and brands, particularly if those notifications send discounts or special offers.

The location-specific notification also works well as a way to broadcast announcements to a specific set of people. The London Olymics, for example, used Urban Airships to deliver notifications to just people at the grounds. Urban Airship executives also said the notifications can be set to just focus on one city, ZIP code, or even one building.

As another example, Urban Airship executives said that it could target the New York Mets' Citifield for offers -- or send an offer of discounted tickets to people in Queens outside of Citifield to try to boost attendance.

"Understanding where consumers live, work and play adds entirely new dimensions of insight to retailers, brands and media companies' marketing efforts," Scott Kveton, co-founder and CEO of Urban Airship, said in a statement.

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