Much has been said about the value that location data brings to digital advertising—particularly as ad spend and screen time continue shifting to mobile.
There’s no debating that location data can create a substantial lift in campaign results by helping more effectively target ad recipients, refine messaging, attribute store visits to campaign exposure and measure post-campaign results.
However, not all location data is of the same quality—and it’s not always easy to tell the good from the mediocre.
If you’re not confident with the data quality provided by your vendor, ask some key questions to ensure you’re receiving data that accurately reflects the behavior of your target group.
Accuracy – There are many examples of “location fails” in the geocoding and ad-tech space. Serving content to the wrong audience is, at best, a waste of time and money and, at worst, a source of embarrassment or liability that can damage your brand.
Action step: Make sure your vendor stands behind their data. Qualify their expertise and ask them how they ensure accuracy.
Venue positioning – Accurate user location can be undermined by inaccurate venue location—inappropriately associating users with a particular venue. If the latitude/longitude of the venue is placed at the street or associated with a signpost or parking lot, then visit data or geofence triggers will be inaccurate. Venues should be positioned by their true location, centered at the front entrance or the midpoint of the store’s footprint.
Action step: Make sure your vendor curates and validates their venue data to ensure accuracy.
Recency – Clearly, user and venue locations are fluid. People and businesses often move or relocate, either temporarily or permanently.
Action step: Make sure you base campaign decisions around current data. Ask your vendor how and when the data is collected and how often it is updated.
Source – The source of the location data plays a key role in its value. “Source” can have two primary meanings: location method and collecting party. Data collected using more accurate location methods like GPS and Wi-Fi is more valuable than data collected via less accurate methods like Cell ID and IP address. Likewise, first-party data, collected by self-reporting users is sometimes more valuable than third-party data or data purchased from another source.
Action step: Understand the source of the data you’re leveraging by asking your vendor the right questions.
Additional Considerations with Location Data
Look for a vendor with geolocation expertise, one that doesn’t just source the data from third parties and package it as their own with a catchy brand name.
Ideal geolocation partners will offer some combination of location sources. True experts will know how the location is generated, have a firm grasp on the indicators of inaccurate data and will apply that knowledge to “sanitize” and verify the data before passing it on.
To achieve the full benefit that location offers, make sure you ask the right questions of your location vendor. Choose wisely and you’ll reap the rewards!