On Monday 12th October a new local three-tiered system was introduced to define which areas in the UK are higher risk than others, and where more lockdown measures need to be taken. Local targeting has always been important, but now that Liverpudlians will have starkly different lifestyles to the Cornish it has never been more crucial for advertisers to consider how they’re talking to customers in different locations.

Targeting people based on location can mean many things. From buying OOH within 100 metres of your stores to encourage footfall to excluding people from your paid search campaign who live somewhere where your product is not available. Papa John’s ran a successful campaign in London last year where customers were targeted only if they were within a specific radius of a London store. The tier system introduces a further layer of complexity, and advertisers must be conscious that certain plans must be flexible given that it’s difficult to anticipate where and when tier changes will occur.

In some cases, automation may be the answer. The Trade Desk have announced their COVID-19 targeting solution based on regional R ratings. Using UK Government data, which is refreshed weekly, strategies can be automatically switched on or disabled. For example, a delivery service could promote their services in regions with an R rate above 1.5, where individuals may be more likely to avoid shopping in person. Or, an alcohol brand could switch their creative to promote buying their drinks from a store rather than a pub. We shouldn’t approach the tier system purely as a limitation; instead we should search for creative solutions for location targeting.

With Christmas quickly approaching, it’s more important than ever to understand what consumers’ lives look like right now. And how this could differ drastically from place to place. The trends seen during Christmas 2019 are likely to be considerably different this year. According to our October QT, 1 in 3 Brits are intending to socialise in smaller groups over the festive period.

With Q4 planning in full swing, it’s crucial to consider how consumers will experience this year’s festive period. And to remain prepared to adapt to further tier changes.