Oh, The Places We'll Go: IAB Ties ROI To Location Data

One of the troubling tropes in the last year is that “mobile” is becoming an obsolete category in digital media and marketing. The migration to devices is so overwhelming and so fragmented across screens that it is ”all the Internet now,” the thinking goes.

I resist this notion on a few grounds. Not only is mobile media consumption a discrete experience (contextually, aesthetically, temporally) from Web or connected TV use, but mobile devices have  unique capabilities other screens do not. This is not just an extension of the Web.

Location-awareness is perhaps the chief mobile media attribute most important to marketers. As I have argued for years, these devices are mobile people meters that are not only targetable themselves -- they also cast off data that can be combined endlessly with other data to gain invaluable insights.

The latest “high-level primer” from the IAB, “Marketing ROI and Location Data,” is a relatively dry but necessary guide to the many ways mobile location data can do much more than geo-target ads. As this report from the IAB’s Mobile Location Data Working Group outlines, the data can be combined with online, offline, and transactional data to give marketers a new view on cross-platform attribution.

The report walks through the various ways marketers can access location data through apps, mobile advertising, in-store mapping, etc. Then the authors explore how mobile location data can help marketers understand the impact of online advertising on foot traffic and sales, and how it can measure and segment TV audiences as part of addressable and connected TV targeting. The report also explores how location data can even gauge out-of-home ad campaign impressions.

In an IAB blog post, Lauren Moores, Dstillery's vice president of analytics, writes, “The magic of location data is the power of its signal when it is accurate and associated with other relevant metadata. Once location is in context, we can connect digital campaign information to the corresponding audience interaction in the physical world to achieve that dream of measuring the effect of online brand interactions to offline sales.”

Major agencies have begun to use mobile location data for more sophisticated attribution techniques. Just last week, agencies Essence, Digitas, Horizon, IPG Media brands and others signed on to use the location data provider Placed’s system for attributing the impact of mobile marketing on shopping visits and sales. PlaceIQ announced this month its CIP Analytics platform that uses mobile location data to help advertisers segment audiences and track campaign performance. The platform is being used by Starcom MediaVest Group and MediaCom.

The full IAB whitepaper can be downloaded from its site.  

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