Horseshoes, hand grenades and location data?

I’m sure many have heard this phrase. You either win or you don’t — unless you’re playing horse shoes or chucking hand grenades, neither of which many of us have much experience doing.

But the point is clear: “Almost” is simply not good enough. And that certainly applies to location-based mobile targeting and the data that supports it.

Mobile technology has advanced to the point where consumers can be reached on their smartphones, tablets and laptops within five meters of a specific location. That’s a super granular level of targeting, yet data inaccuracy is still a widespread issue. As a result, many brands and agencies are forced to settle for “almost” accurate location data.

Within the advertising industry, for example, upwards of 50 percent of GPS latitude/longitude data passed from publishers and exchanges on any given day is inaccurate or fraudulent.

So there’s a huge need for mobile providers to put quality control practices in place to verify the purity of their data and ensure that retailers aren’t wasting ad dollars on false retail foot traffic analytics and insights, and consumers avoid spam by receiving ads that are actually of interest to them.

Location data is the key tool for marketers in their quest to find consumers and engage them in a relevant, meaningful way. Where you go truly defines who you are, and can provide marketers with a complete picture of consumer behavior.

Whether a brand’s goal is to drive an immediate purchase (e.g. fast food, beverage) or consideration for a longer purchase-cycle product (e.g. automotive, travel), if that location data is off the mark, it’s the digital equivalent of dropping flyers from a plane into a neighborhood.

So while brands around the world are navigating their way through the location data jungle, the fact remains that it’s essential to understand how vendors are scrubbing, filtering and validating that data.

How do we solve this? Greater transparency from vendors, and more scrutiny from marketers.

As an example, we at Blis use a multi-point quality control process to filter and verify our GPS data, which we then cross reference with common WiFi addresses against our own points-of-interest database to help increase scale. If the data doesn’t pass any one of these quality control measures, it gets thrown out.

Having the ability to reach and engage consumers across their devices based on where they are in real time, where they’ve been in the past and the current device connection, provides a much better lens for marketers to understand the perfect moment to reach and engage that consumer.

For some it could be at the point-of-purchase via a rich media ad on a smartphone with a 3G/4G connection, and for others it could involve reaching them at home via a HD video ad across tablet and laptops on WiFi.

But it all comes down to the purity of the location data.

So don’t’ be afraid to get under the hood. Unless more of the right questions are asked, the industry will not learn and won’t move forward. Ask your agency or mobile media vendor to articulate their technological approach to location:

  • How does it permeate through to their products and targeting for your business?
  • How accurate is their location data, how do they validate that accuracy?
  • How does it inform their understanding of your audience?

Data is a complex, deep well, and one that will only get deeper and more complex. Focusing on location data to optimize campaigns will, without a doubt, give brands the intelligence they need to reach better-targeted audiences and, at the end of the day, build brand value and increase return on ad spend.

But in order to maximize performance, never settle for “almost” accurate location data, unless of course you’re playing horseshoes.

Gil Larsen is VP of the Americas at Blis.

To read the original article click here.

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