Good versus bad data: why the source is everything in location

How marketers derive location data can make or break an advertising campaign. So how can they ensure they are getting good quality location data at all times? In the third of a five-part series from The Drum and Verve on everything you need to know (EYNTK) about location-based advertising, we explore the differences between good and bad location data.

At its crux the quality of location data depends entirely on its source. Using inaccurate data to target consumers not only results in irrelevant advertising but also leads to a disgruntled customer who swears to never use that brand again.

Adding to this is the lack of clarity around precision in location-based advertising. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, data quality and transparency (40%) was cited as a top concern among marketers.

And in the light of the recent controversy around brand safety, where advertisements were found next to inappropriate content on unverified YouTube videos, brands need to be more conscious than ever about the verification of data sources and the inventory through which ads are being targeted.

So how can a brand avoid going down the wrong rabbit hole? Location data is usually derived through two approaches: exchange data or a software development kit (SDK) in a mobile device. Both methods use a range of sources (WiFi signals, GPS, IP address etc) to pinpoint a consumer’s location but the SDK provides an additional layer of certainty about the exact location of the consumer.

In a previous episode of EYNTK, James explained the importance of deriving accurate and precise data. The SDK approach provides marketers with the confidence that their ad will be seen in the correct context and location because the data is supplemented with a time stamp and horizontal measurement that shows where the user is, at the time indicated.

Mark Slade, managing director at Location Sciences, a mobile location intelligence outlines some of the challenges with using exchange data. “Exchange data can only ever give you episodic or a snapshot insight into location, as it only tracks location at the time advertising is being viewed, which makes it unsuitable for verifying media over a long period.

He adds: “There is increasingly a problem with spoofed location data – unscrupulous publishers are realising that impressions with location information are far more valuable that those without so they add a fake location to drive the price of the impression up. Exchanges need to get better at filtering this false data to ensure that brands are getting the insight that they’re paying for.”

While Slade admits there are some challenges with the SDK approach such as “building scale”, it is still possible to quickly grow a significant audience. Marketers can also be assured that they will get a consistent level of location data insight.

“It means that you can create far more powerful and effective solutions, whether that’s truly location-sensitive advertising, attribution for out of home advertising or online/offline attribution.”

Data quality and transparency is an issue that is more paramount than ever before - which is why marketers should be doing everything in their power to ensure the location data is not only brand safe, but will also give them the advertising results they are looking for.

Everything You Need to Know About Location-Based Advertising is the fourth EYNTK series from The Drum, designed to help viewers get up to speed with some of the most important issues in today’s marketing industry in one short film – something they can watch in the back of a taxi on the way to their next crucial meeting on the subject.

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