Why location matters in mobile advertising

Up until the past few years, digital advertising was traditionally about targeting audiences using a very small set of data points – content behaviour, search and cookie data.

But reaching consumers wherever they may be at any given time demands much richer, multi-layered sets of data. Location, demographic and other sources of data provide opportunities to target the right consumer with the right advertising within the right context, as consumers interact with digital and real-world environments. For this reason, location matters a great deal today in digital advertising.

However, adtech partners must be able to meaningfully and accurately analyse device location data for brands so that marketers can access information about audience segments, demographics and consumer intent, to a far more granular level than has ever been seen. By helping consumers find the right products and services they want at the right time, location advertising drives real value for end users.

The good, the bad, and the ugly (data)

One of the big problems the industry faces is that location data coming back from an ad request is notoriously inaccurate, imprecise or even untrue. Location accuracy can be defined as the proximity of a user’s stated location as per the ad request, compared to the user’s actual real-world location. The difference between ‘stated’ and ‘actual’ location can vary by a matter of a few feet, or by hundreds of miles!

So identifying the user’s true location is the goal of any ad platform in order to enhance targeting capabilities and optimise ad performance. The most accurate location source is from assisted GPS, if enabled on the handset, or from WiFi access - again, if enabled on the device. After this, ad platforms generally look to device ID, IP data and then user registration on social check-ins etc.

There are varying levels of accuracy for each method and the publisher that is receiving the information then sets about translating it into lat/long coordinates to package up into data sent to an exchange as part of an ad request.

There is no way for the ad network or most DSPs to tell which ad impression has good, bad, or even ugly location data attached, so Blis came up with a series of algorithms and data filtering capabilities based on six stages of verification to help us distinguish. Right now we are eliminating up to 90 percent of the location data that comes across our platform which gives you some idea of the size of the problem!

Every location partner has its own way of cleaning up bad data, but it’s worth bearing in mind that those who haven’t built their own proprietary technology platforms will not be delivering a high quality data product.

What I found exciting about BlisMedia when I joined was the incredible set of first-party location data it possessed because the company has been building a location database for more than 10 years.

Device recognition augmentation methods, such as device usage profiles, geo location clustering, cross-device/screen analytics or ID linkage for first-party data owners, can greatly improve today’s digital marketing programs. Marketers should become fluent in their use cases and benefits.

Bringing more data to the party

Mobile is all around us today. The exponential rise of smartphone usage, GPS-enabled devices and location-based apps is producing a vast amount of geographical and behavioural-based user data that can be leveraged using the right technology and data analysis tools. While the capability to geo-fence physical places – creating a specific location-based area to target consumers within - is not new, it is growing in use and importance for brands looking for better ways to connect with consumers on a hyper-local basis. And geo-fencing is moving well beyond traditional location-based applications and social check-ins. There’s far more value in targeting an audience by building up a multi-layered location behaviour profile based, not just only on where someone is in the present time, but also where they’ve been historically, and crucially, where they are likely to go next. This contextual location analysis provides far deeper behavioural insights.

Blis has access to multiple data sources from first, second and third party partners including exclusive Wi-Fi partners in the UK, and globally available open market data like Experian geodemographic profiles.

The Bis platform ingests, analyses and then creates correlations between these data sets to provide insights into what will make the targeting for our customers advertising campaigns more accurate, precise, less wasteful and more likely to elicit a response. Data is how Blis develops a multi-dimensional view of the consumers we are trying to reach, wherever they are. More importantly, what we know about them says a lot about how they are likely to respond to advertising messaging.

Harry Dewhirst, president, BlisMedia