The State of Location In Advertising: 3 Essential Questions Answered

Feb 10, 2017   

Posted by Angela Diaco

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For digital advertising (and nearly everyone else), 2016 was a tough year: “fake news” became an issue, mistrust in agencies flared as transparency problems came to light and huge acquisitions seemed to happen so often our heads were spinning. Despite these changes, disruption in the location data space is needed now more than ever. Why? Adtech users and location experts are still seeing up to 90% of location data in the industry being incorrect.

 

This year, we predict that advertisers knowledge of location will mature, and we anticipate seeing more innovative campaigns because of it. Not only that, we’replanning to release best practices for location and behavioral targeting to help agencies and brands hit their stride.

 

In the following Q&A, our VP of Advertising Products Matt Kojalo tells us what he sees in location-based advertising this year:


1. Why isn't 'close' good enough for location targeting?

Close is fine for targeting ‘all people in Boston’ for a general Dunkin Donuts promotion, but not if you are trying to identify regular Dunkin Donuts buyers who also visit Starbucks at least once a week. To do that you need to know exactly where each coffee shop is physically located AND accurately position the consumer's mobile phone. Mobile permeates our lives - it would be a huge miss not to utilize this valuable data that reveals where users go and when.

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Inaccurate location, even when slight, can dramatically skew an entire dataset, especially when the context surrounding a location is concerned. We’ve seen inaccurate location data in up to 90% of location data in an adtech dataset.


Highly accurate data is available today and should be sought out. Skyhook has over 13 years experience delivering the most accurate location to apps and devices that need it, such as emergency response or wearable safety devices. That network powers our filtering system for adtech data, giving advertisers peace of mind knowing their targeting criteria can be relied upon.

2. What problems do brands have if their location targeting isn't on point?

A few issues arise when companies use bad location for their targeting or even for post-campaign insights:

 

When you don’t know exactly where a user has been, advertisers deliver inaccurate personalization  (for example: A gym and fast food restaurant located next to each other. Delivering fast food campaigns to a user who really is in the gym leads to wasted campaign dollars and frustrated users).

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Inaccurate data makes it hard to effectively measure campaign effectiveness.  Without accurate location data, advertisers’ can’t know how effective they were at driving in-store foot traffic.

 

Upholding brand reputation across all channels becomes difficult when advertisers don’t have a clear view of their audience - their behavior and preferences - and where they’ve been. 

3. What are your top 3 tips to improve location targeting?

  1. Understand that you don’t need to become an expert. If you’re not working with a location insights vendor, begin the review process as soon as possible.
  2. Vet your location data partners extensively: they should explain what their view of “accurate” actually means and their business model should not compete with your own.
  3. Educate yourself and your team on the qualities of accurate location and be able to recognize pathological behavior when it occurs in your dataset.

The Bottom Line

Accurate location data benefits both advertisers and consumers: consumers receive personalized content and campaigns relevant to their specific location, while advertisers see more dollars and trust come their way. The hope for the industry is that soon all advertisers will strive to implement best practices that guard against the use of faulty data. As advertisers’ understanding of location matures, we can expect to see more innovative and personalized ad campaigns in 2017.

 

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Topics: Advertising, personas