Location intelligence is an extremely powerful tool that helps brands craft precise targeting and creative media to drive meaningful, personalized marketing campaigns with massive ROI opportunities. Brands are using location intelligence to confidently tap into new markets and more effectively win over audiences through deeper consumer connections and messaging strategies derived from real-time data rather than supposition.
Retailers—faced with stiff competition and disrupted by the rise of e-commerce—were early adopters of location intelligence, utilizing it to gauge buying habits, loyalty, product placement analysis, feedback, etc. While location data technology may be a lifeline for some retailers, its impact on business marketing in the growing experiential economy won’t stop there.
The global location intelligence market is expected to expand at 15.3 percent compounded annually through 2025, to reach $25.25 billion and we are now seeing businesses across a broad spectrum of industries—definitely not just retail—unlock the power of predictive behavioral insights. The benefits of location intelligence run the gamut, allowing businesses to respond to trends, improve customer experience and optimize business operations.
Industries disrupted by location intelligence include financial services, insurance, transportation, logistics, real estate, construction, telecommunications, higher education, restaurants, public sector, healthcare, etc. Even film studios and dating apps are effectively leveraging location data to get the right messages to the right people at the right time.
Location technology can thrive in many places and spaces. However, the power of location intelligence relies on humanizing the consumer data to create meaningful marketing moments. The industry is changing and challenges are emerging that can interfere with humanization, namely having to do with security, privacy, data quality, and difficulties gaining actionable insights.
If you want to unlock the power of location intelligence, you can circumnavigate these common roadblocks by vetting a qualified data partner. Not all location-data providers work with the same data resources and they certainly don’t all offer the same actionable insights. Here are some of the questions you should ask a prospective location data partner before engaging with them:
Where is the Data Coming From?
Data sourcing is critical and a data provider should clearly source and verify data. The majority of data ideally comes from scalable and secure first-party device ID tracking. Third-party data can be employed to bring an additional layer to the analysis, but it will need to be validated and filtered for accuracy.
There are three dominant sources for location data: bid stream (or lat/long), software development kits (SDK) and beacons (or one-way signals) and these vary. These all have pros and cons. For example, there is evidence to suggest that some of the programmatic bid stream location data—which many providers actually use as their primary source because it can be easily scaled— can be problematic if not properly authenticated. While this type of data can be powerful for clients in some industries, it should be avoided for others—and your data partner should know the difference.
It is critical to understand how a data partner leverages and scales these various data sources and also what filtering and data hygiene processes are in place to reduce fraud and spoofing.
Does the Platform Filter Incoming Data in Real-Time?
I give clients a little test when I discuss SDK-level data to assert the importance of data filtering. I have them go into their phone settings to identify which applications in location services are set to ‘always on’ or ‘on while using.’ Most people are shocked at the amount of data they’re sharing. This helps clients understand that a company’s data, when in the wrong hands, can be misused. You’ll want to make sure you’re working with a company that ethically sources data, correctly stores consent files and has protocols in place to carefully de-duplicate data.
It’s also necessary for a data provider to share how data is stored and refreshed. If a company uses bid stream data primarily it is possible that rampant fraud and spoofing in the bid stream could render a significant portion of that data unreliable. However, if the prospective partner is leveraging authenticated SDK-level data and has trusted publishers that share fraud-free bid stream, then you can have greater confidence in the data’s validity. It is vital that a provider implements a proper data management platform (DMP) to uphold the integrity of segmentation for insights and targeting.
How Do You Qualify POI Data?
There will never be perfect point of interest (POI) data but there are measures a provider can take to improve it. Accuracy and recency are key factors for achieving top results. The best quality data doesn’t just look at a device’s locational coordinates. It also helps you to understand the overall context of the location. When this is done, the data can start to inform user intent and interpret meaning. Data obtained without this type of contextual insight is not actionable and virtually useless.
The best quality data is validated and analyzed from multiple, authenticated sources, accounting for types of destinations, visit frequency, time of day, etc. The most accurate and actionable data is also validated by scaled input, as well as a thorough cleaning and de-duplication process.
How Do You Maintain Dataset Continuity and Hygiene?
Continuity is critical for predictive modeling. People and their movements are habitual by nature, which means that more consistent tracking will yield higher-quality datasets.
You may find that with some data providers, you make a choice between scale and accuracy. This is because accuracy often limits scale, while scale challenges accuracy. The remedy to the ongoing conflict is to maintain historical consistency with scaled, mapped household data that is properly de-duped and adequately monitored for gaps. This will enhance actionability of the insights.
Do You Provide Actionable Insights?
A qualified data partner won’t just produce high-quality, accurate data, but also leverage analytics tools that can help you create end-to-end solutions around the measured behaviors.
With the proliferation of mobile devices and IoT, there is no shortage of data. A solid data science team effectively normalizes data for executable segmentation—and then uses innovative data artistry to connect it in a meaningful way. Be sure to ask a data provider for relevant case studies to see how they’ve applied data with companies like yours.
Data is vast and it is rapidly evolving. Location intelligence is a tool for making data-based decisions and is a critical link to your audiences. Working with a talented data provider will give you access to the most complete insights, segmentation dimensionality and predictive behavior tools—so you can create meaningful marketing moments for your brand.