Using Location Data To Inform Search

There’s no question smartphones have changed the way we shop for goods and services. They’ve become the predominant platform for online shopping and have changed the game when it comes to brick-and-mortar retailing. (Remember “showrooming”?) But what was once seen as a threat to traditional business is now becoming an asset, particularly when it comes to evaluating local marketing — and search marketing — efforts.

Google Maps recently began including expected wait times at specific stores or venues under its “popular times” section. The information can be beneficial for consumers wondering how long it will take to get their morning latte, but it could also become a deciding factor about whether to go to one store or the other.

In a similar vein (but one much more targeted at marketers developing campaigns), YP has introduced an Audience Cartography tool that brings together proprietary search intent data with mobile location information for location-specific audience insights.  Audience Cartography includes store location heat maps and demographic insights to better understand specific location characteristics and tools to help calculate visits to individual stores for better campaign evaluation.



“We’re consolidating search insights, and including that information into act-alike and search-alike models,” Bill Maslyn, director of national products for YP, tells Search Insider. “It’s not necessarily going to be integrated into [a marketer’s] next search campaign, but it will inform other [initiatives].”

Location marketing pioneer Foursquare has also updated its Attribution Powered by Foursquare tool to provide real-time campaign measurement, using a panel of 1.3 million non-incentivized users to provide the information. The dashboard can break down the information into metrics that entail geography, age groups, gender and customer loyalty.

“Location intelligence” company xAd, meanwhile, last month announced the launch of its MarketPlace Discovery tool, which uses real-time location information to provide foot-traffic information. The tool, according to the company, can help marketers better understand where their customers are coming from when they visit specific stores “to make more strategic and informed marketing decisions.”

Which brings us back to search. In a piece at Street Fight, Damian Rollison says we’ve entered a “second phase” of mobile, tying it to proximity, both of information and location. As more marketers and platforms add levels and degrees of geographic information (SnapChat’s GeoFilters, for instance, or Pokemon Go stops), the need for location-specific knowledge will only increase.

“Ultimately what we want to do is drive better performance, using location to drive the objectives of consumers,” says YP’s Maslyn.

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