Mobile Location Data, 'Untapped' Information

Duncan McCall, CEO and co-founder of PlaceIQ, gave a presentation at OMMA mcommerce in New York today about mobile real-time location targeting. He started off by describing PlaceIQ as an audience targeting company that uses location and time to "uncover" audiences. He believes that the "untapped" knowledge of knowing where a consumer is, where they have been, and where they will go is huge for advertisers.

He said that the fact that so many apps are asking for user permission to allow location is helpful for a company like PlaceIQ. "We don't have to have anything on the phone. There are billions of ad impressions per month that already have location [information]," he said.

McCall told RTM Daily after the presentation that the number of users that allow location tracking varies widely depending on the app. He said that for weather apps, the user approval is high. For others (he didn't give any specifics), it's much lower. However, he noted that the lowest he sees is 30-40%, which is still very high.



During his presentation, he talked specifics about targeting a user based on their current location. In his example, PlaceIQ used location data to see what devices are in a park, sports club, etc. to know who and where potential athletes are.

He called those locations "tiles," and accompanying his presentation was a slideshow depicting a map with little green squares showing where the athletes could be found. Of course, there is still the problem that not everyone in a Sports Authority is an athlete, and those people in the park might be dog-sitters. However, according to the case study McCall presented, the initial targeting still works well.

PlaceIQ ran an A/B test, and he claimed that test group that saw the location-targeted mobile ads resulted in 50% more in-store visits than the group that didn't. The ads were shown in real-time during the consumers' first (known) visit at a specific location. Essentially, advertisers don't need to wait for a device to be in a Sports Authority for a second time to be confident that their sports-related ad will be relevant.

Speaking on the mobile location targeting space in general, McCall told RTM Daily that he has been surprised at how much it has "taken off" in the past year and a half. At PlaceIQ, he said they've gone from five employees to 55 in that time.

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