Location data is a tool that can serve both advertisers and consumers. However, complexities and challenges are stalling its full implementation for many brands.
Let’s dig into that, come back with a few tips and see how location data is updating for names like Apple and Android.
Location Data Isn’t Doing All It Can for Advertisers
In a recent report for mobile advertising platform Verve, Forrester Consulting explored the use of location data to improve mobile ad experiences for consumers and brands.
The prevalence of mobile in daily life has changed the expectations of both brands and consumers. While consumers expect brands to consistently be there at the right moments and with the right information, brands expect mobile advertising to increase conversion rates and drive customer retention.
Location data is a way to meet expectations on both sides by helping advertisers deliver highly contextual experiences. Specifically, most advertisers in the Forrester study recognize that location data can help them:
- Hone messaging to make it more relevant to meet consumers’ exact needs at exact times.
- Learn more about customers by defining key attributes through changes in location data.
- Bring traffic into brick and mortar stores following online experiences.
Advertisers also know location data can perpetuate the value it’s already providing, demonstrated by conversion rates and customer winning, serving and retention. Of course, to sustain that effectiveness, advertisers should deepen their understanding of location data and apply up-to-date best practices.
Despite knowing all the benefits of using location data, mobile advertisers face challenges in obtaining and integrating it. Some of the participating advertisers identified specific challenges:
A low level of mobile marketing maturity. Forrester assessed brands’ mobile marketing maturity based on three factors: organization, planning/execution and measurement. How brands rate determines their maturity on a scale of one (low) to five (high). Nearly half of respondents were at a three or below, suggesting that they aren’t mature enough to fully execute mobile strategies and elements like location data.
Varying definitions of “location” across industries. For example, does location refer to a physical place, and the hope that customers will go there to make a purchase (local marketing), or does it mean using data to learn more about an audience to enhance segmentation and targeting (location-based marketing)?
Difficulty understanding location data. Almost all advertisers report some sort of challenge in this space. Often, brands don’t fully grasp what third-party location data services are offering. Or, they don’t know how to use the location data within their messaging. Another problem is dealing with inaccurate location data.
Unpacking that last challenge a little further, Forrester explains that advertisers typically deal with multiple layers of complexity to obtain location data:
- Two location data sources, one internal and one third-party
- Multiple technologies including Wi-Fi, GPS, cellular towers, beacons and radio frequency identification
- Integration with two other kinds of customer data
This complexity hinders advertisers’ ability to take full advantage of location data, and detracts from the value of the investment.
It all comes down to the maturity of advertisers’ mobile marketing profiles, according to Forrester. Those focused on location-based marketing rather than local marketing (see description and image on definitions of “location” above) were able to craft more relevant messaging. Further, they saw improvements in targeting efficiency, marketing technology return on investment (ROI) and brand awareness.
Forrester wraps up by offering these recommendations to advertisers looking to mature their mobile marketing and take advantage of location data:
- Use location data to enhance understanding of consumers. It’s not meant to replace an entire profile.
- Partner with the right location data platforms for the right scale and quality, and to augment the appropriate factors in your strategy.
- Ask as many questions as necessary to understand how location data will work for you.
- Learn how your audience feels about your use of location data. Younger consumers tend to be more aware of and comfortable with it, while older consumers are less aware of the practice and less willing to share their information.
Updates to Location Data Collection
Both Apple and Android are updating their location data policies in ways that will impact mobile marketing. On iPhones and iPads, a blue bar in the display will indicate when background apps are tracking location. Android will begin limiting how often apps can collect location data, cutting it from every few minutes to a few times an hour.
Apple will also make it easier for users to control which apps track their location and when. In addition, developers will have to be more conservative in requesting location data collection. Many developers are alright with the updates, as they’re targeted at bad actors.
Location data is complex – not only in the methods for collecting and using it, but in respecting the privacy and preferences of your audience. Spend time maturing your mobile strategy now to meet your, and your customers’, expectations for effective mobile advertising.