Right here, right now: the power of location data

‘Location, location, location’; a phrase coined in the 20th Century in the real-estate sector, but one that’s never been more relevant to advertising. Nearly three quarters of people (73%) now allow apps to access their location, providing exact insight into consumer behaviour on mobile, and a competitive advantage for brands if used intelligently.

Location data is already being used successfully in some industries by established players, trying to fight off disruptors that are masters at using new technology to seize market share. And yet, according to recent research by Forrester, 94% of advertisers still have difficulty working with location data because they don’t know how best to use it.

If marketers want to be able to use data to raise awareness of their products or services, then there are some guidelines to follow to engage rather than enrage potential customers with badly targeted or irrelevant advertising.

Take advantage of calendar events

Events specific to locales offer particularly good opportunities to boost CTRs and conversions. Any brand can use a timely event to promote a product or keep the company top of mind in particular regions.

Location data is being used well in the taxi industry – where more established companies are having to work smart with data to take on agile competitors. Ahead of the 2017 Pride in London, for example, a well-known British taxi company recognised that potential customers would be looking for transport in the area, providing a great opportunity for the brand.

Using location data to discover who was at the event, they targeted people on Twitter with creative ads that incorporated the Pride branding and specific keywords such as ‘LGBT’ and ‘Pride Parade’ with a relevant discount. This resulted in higher engagement, volume of impressions and app installations, as well as delivering the lowest cost per impression, ultimately helping them compete with the likes of Uber.

When used in conjunction with popular calendar events, like in the example above, location data can deliver excellent results. Marketers should focus on producing well-targeted and personalised ads, using contextually relevant creatives tailored for individual platforms. The more relevant and targeted the better.

Play the long game

Location technology is constantly advancing and has already moved beyond just targeting people at a particular moment in time. It is now possible for marketers to measure and react to longer-term patterns of behaviour to inform longer term marketing strategies.

For example, brands can see if someone has been to a number of shopping centres or restaurants in the past few weeks or see which journeys they make regularly using historical location data, to build up patterns of behaviour in order to optimise targeting.

Further, a fast food retailer, for example, might use live location data to discover when a customer who is engaging with the brand on social media is walking near a restaurant, and deliver a tailored money-off voucher for that day only to drive them to purchase. Building a longer-term profile helps inform wider marketing strategies and enables you to target more effectively.

Use data responsibly

A recent study has shown that over three quarters of people (77%) will only share their location if they are confident that their personal information is being stored securely, and a further 34% of us will remove an app if we receive poorly targeted ads.

Being clear about how your data is sourced and validated and then ensuring you can blend it with sources from second and third parties will improve the targeting of identified audience segments.

There is no doubt that location data can be extremely valuable to marketers, but if they do not treat it with respect, brand apps and consumers will be turned off.

Brands understand that the consumer relationship with their mobile device is intimate, and getting mobile advertising wrong can both irritate and disengage potential customers. There seems to be some reluctance to adopt newer technology until it has been tested and any potential issues are ironed out, which is understandable. Yet brands that are adopting location targeting, and are doing it well, are already reaping excellent rewards.

Keep these three tips top-of-mind and trial using location-based marketing – it will surely pay off.

– by Amit Dar