Hyper-local Data: Programmatic Game-Changer, And Not Just For Mobile

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.
2 comments about "Hyper-local Data: Programmatic Game-Changer, And Not Just For Mobile".
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  1. Matthew Davis from Reveal Mobile, June 24, 2014 at 1:31 p.m.

    Good read. I agree that more possibilities exist, both inside the advertising industry and outside, but I get stuck in one spot. How does one connect or sync the location information gathered via mobile to those other channels? What's syncing up that mobile behavior to their desktop?

    I don't agree that we are on the brink of household devices delivering ads. Nest is publicly vocal that this won't happen. Time will tell.

  2. Steve Gurley from Pyrim Technologies, Inc, June 25, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.

    Good article. Thanks for taking the time. Regarding personalization of DOOH ads, please allow me to share my experience.

    I have been in the mobile industry for 20 years. 8 of which were spent working in the DOOH industry to extend the DOOH viewing experience to mobile. I have filed several patents on the subject, written many papers, articles and blog posts on DOOH/Mobile convergence and the one thing that I can say with absolute certainty is that targeting DOOH's on-screen content down to the individual is something you generally do not want to do. The value of DOOH is that it is a one to many medium.

    The current goal of the DOOH industry is to get the viewer to engage with the DOOH content so that they can deliver a more personalized experience and collect better engagement metrics. Today, this is primarily being done via NFC and QR Codes attached to the screens. The model works like this: The viewer sees something on the screen that they like. They either tap their phone on an NFC tag or scan a QR code to engage for more info.

    Once engaged, the content that is delivered to the phone is more personalize for a one-to-one engagement. This is being done by companies like JCDecaux and Clear Channel on an increasing basis.

    As a side note, I have seen a lot written lately about using Bluetooth Low Energy to transform the preceding active process to a passive process whereby the viewer is passively notified on their phone of ads shown on DOOH. For a lot of reasons that would take too long to explain here, don't count on that ever happening.

    Another thing that the DOOH industry is doing to better target their content/ads is to work with wireless network operators to acquire phone utilization data, in aggregate and by location, to target content/ads to specific audience profiles that are built based upon their phone utilization patterns. Once the utilization data is understood, the content is created to match the audience and day parted to address the utilization trends and then delivered to the screen. PosterScope in the UK is doing some interesting stuff in this area and has seen strong uplift.

    Sorry for the super-long response, but it's a radically misunderstood topic.

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