Demystifying Location Tech: It's Not Just About Location

Dating back to direct mail, when marketers relied on Zip codes to target consumers, location has always been integral to marketing. When connected devices emerged, new opportunities came knocking. Innovations, including beacons, GPS’s and device IDs, unlocked more ways to locate and connect to consumers with specific content.

However, as much as location has its place in marketing, few mobile advertisers today realize that physical coordinates are an extremely small piece of the location technology puzzle. 

If location is going to have a real impact in mobile advertising, it should be integrated with other technologies to deliver on its promise – a direct brand-to-consumer dialogue. Marketers need to consider the context around location as essential in any truly effective solution.

For example, marketers should consider a platforms’ ability to address weather, time of day, and current events – all essential factors defining a consumer’s context and needs. Also consider data regarding a target audiences’ preferences and behaviors. With this added context in mind, marketers should determine how to effectively deliver messages to drive mobile engagement.

How can marketers select a location-based platform to connect to consumers and boost engagement?

Don’t Fence Me In

Not all location technologies are created equal. Today, geo-fencing is the most commonly used location technology. Geo-fences are typically circular boundaries around a given location with a fixed radius, or a customized perimeter around a location. Organizations can trigger communications when specific devices are within the geo-fence.   ;                                 & nbsp;

Geo-fences are generally defined with little thought of precision. They are established based on an educated guess, or with little rigor, using historical data that analyzes past performance by location and maps it to a grid. In theory, ‘grid-derived’ geo-fences are quite granular, but in practice, the actual geo-fences established are much larger because setting and adjusting them is time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Unfortunately, when geo-fences are established, we can measure only the efficacy of the entire geo-fenced area - not precise points within it. Claims of precision are often misleading.  

Digital marketers need targeting technology suited to their audiences’ behaviors.

Don’t Dismiss the Delivery Guy

Trying to deliver the right message to consumers on the go is an industry challenge.Mostmarketing strategies today use device IDs to target consumers with relevant messages. Marketers create new target segments based on a device IDs’ previous location behavior.

Yet this strategy is static — it only provides a historical snapshot of device-related location behavior. It fails to react intelligently to real time location behavior, or deliver messages with precision in real time.   

Mobile advertisers need systems and technologies to evaluate numerous data points and quickly decide whether and how to communicate to a given consumer. Marketers need platforms that provide structured and logical systems for directing communications based on numerous historical and real time data points to optimize 1-1 consumer interactions.

Context is Key

Consumer intent and mind-set differ dramatically from moment to moment. Marketers need technologies that provide insight into consumer demographics and behaviors, merged with historical and real-time information from connected devices.

Assembling this information, along with past patterns of engagement with communications, allows advertisers to develop truly relevant dialogues with consumers. Detecting patterns of behavior that correlate with consumer engagement in a particular communication also enables marketers to direct resources to the highest opportunity mobile audiences and moments. 

Greater specificity regarding context is essential to providing increased relevance for location-based communications. Location and other contextual data, such as time of day and weather, should be monitored in real time to assess audience behavior patterns and deliver ads when they’ll be most effective. This could be critical to marketers serving industries such as entertainment, travel and tourism, and retail.  

Advertisers’ long-term goals have always been to deliver targeted and personalized experiences that maximize consumer engagement. The promise of mobile is real, but there is a clear disconnect in most location solutions available today. Precision delivery and relevant communications require technologies that integrate context, consumer behavioral data and location.  




1 comment about "Demystifying Location Tech: It's Not Just About Location".
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  1. Devika Girish from MobStac, October 18, 2015 at 10:45 p.m.

    Great read, Ryan. Thanks for sharing. And yes I totally agree with what you said - there is a clear disconnect in most location solutions available today and that is lack of context. Location and other contextual data, such as time of day and weather etc., combined with both real-time and historical customer information will help brands deliver truly contextual, personalised content. This is one of the primary reasons for the hype behind beacons. I recently wrote about a few brands that are doing beacons right, along with a few tips on what else they could have done to make a bigger impact here:


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