Hyper-local data is now available via programmatic media buying, and the implications are huge. Hyper-local targeting mainly uses a consumer’s latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates (abbreviated as lat/long) to deliver a targeted ad, We’ve been doing this since Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. It’s flown under the radar with the ease of cookie data collection, but location-based targeting is coming back with innovative opportunities. Retailers have the option to serve ads to consumers as they walk by a store. CPG marketers can target those same consumers once inside. Furthermore, beaconing will take this to a whole other level.
So much of the hyper-local storyline to date has focused on mobile due to the nature of device mobility. But that’s only one example of how this data can be leveraged. It’s entirely possible to target on a hyper-local level in traditional ways, and it’s these executions that will make hyper-local a pillar of online advertising in the near future.
One way to think about hyper-local is as a replacement or complement to cookie targeting. Rather than dropping pixels and making assumptions just off online behavior, advertisers can leverage location-based data to build more advanced segments. For example, brands could use this data to find people who travel often, serving this specific consumer segment appropriate targeted ads relevant to their traveling habits.
When you free hyper-local from residing only in the mobile bucket and think of it as a new data set, it opens up a world of opportunities. We’re at a point where traditional media, out-of-home, and connected home appliances can leverage this data as well. Google purchased Nest last year, and we’re on the brink of household devices that can deliver ads. There have been great strides in digital out-of-home, and we’ll soon see digital billboards that deliver dynamic messaging depending on which consumer is standing in front of the device. Combining these media opportunities with hyper-local data points gives marketers a full-funnel RTB strategy. It’s no longer about mobile, but a full brand-building exercise across multiple consumer touch points.
Of course, no conversation about hyper-local and lat/long targeting is complete without addressing privacy. The thought of being tracked everywhere you go will undoubtedly creep out a lot of consumers, as it should.
Sections of the public are always frightened by new advancements in technology. My grandfather was upset with the launch of E-ZPass because he saw it as a government tracking mechanism. Any expansion into hyper-local lat/long targeting needs to address these concerns head-on, explaining that none of this information is personally identifiable, and offering clear opt-outs.We’ve come a long way from freak-outs caused by aggressive retargeting ads following consumers across the Web, and it’s safe to say consumers are more comfortable with the practice of targeting. Location based data, is opening up an entirely new era of targeted advertising, one that possibly even be a good hedge to cookies. Of course, that’s not possible if the industry crosses the line on privacy. Let’s be sure to learn from the lessons of advertising’s past as we move into the future.