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  • Frank Gussoni

Location Based Advertising: Is Anybody Really Out There?

Updated: Jul 26

With consumers requesting more privacy and less sharing and selling of their information, the ability for advertisers to be able to connect with consumers while they are shopping, or to direct them to nearby stores or restaurants is a huge advantage for mobile platforms. However, those capabilities are diminished when location-based ads are misdirected because of poor data information.

Marketers across the region are experiencing the increasing value in location-based services and data targeting but there are still many concerns about the accuracy of the data being used. Large ad budgets are being invested in mobile location data that is presented as accurate. However, at times this could not be further from the truth, even with tens of billions of dollars being invested each year.

We all know that fraud is prevalent in the programmatic world, and a large portion of that fraud is attributed to inaccurate data, including location data. Because consumers are aware that advertisers will often target them based on location, it has become increasingly more difficult to obtain real location data from users. Many users choose not to share or may even block their location with apps and websites, which gives them a greater control over the privacy of their actual location.

In addition to challenges with the data’s validity, location-based marketing faces concerns about its relevance for targeting. Many advertisers are having to rely heavily on location data based on user activity or IP addresses. This can be far less precise than location determinations provided by mobile device location services, and in some cases, this too can be totally inaccurate.

Many advertisers choose targeting users by larger geographies like cities and states. The issue here is that when advertisers are utilizing location targeting in this manner, they are provided very little transparency into how the target area was determined. This can result in some unwanted surprises for advertisers as to where their ads were delivered and to whom.

With so many sources of data available, marketers need to ask which data is best for their mobile campaigns. Each data source has its pros and cons but should only be considered with the individual campaign goal in mind. When the data provided is accurate and used properly, location-based advertising not only improves the accuracy in which a campaign is delivered, but it also elevates the consumer’s experience to improve the results of a campaign.

Right now, the mobile ad industry just doesn’t have the proper technologies to protect location-based advertisers from potential inaccuracies. But the technology is getting better every day.

Hopefully, the day will come when they are able to safeguard against these inaccuracies to ensure buyers that they are not investing in something inaccurate.

Inaccuracies that can not only hurt their brand and their marketing objectives but ultimately, their bottom line.

The answer may lie in the use of all first party data. Once first part data is utilized 100% of the time for targeting, behavioral and shopping patterns, gender, age and location-based devices is narrowed to the accuracy of a pinpoint, then advertisers can rest assured that their ad spending isn’t being wasted.

One of the tasks of a great agency is to vet the data, the second is to vet the accuracy of the delivery metrics. If your firm can’t clearly explain and prove to you the tech being utilized, then it might be time to use your own first party data (their lack of knowledge) to find another agency.



President & Founder of A3 media. We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.



President & Founder of A3 media.

We’re Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.

Frank’s Take provides uncommon sense media buying advice for regional and mid-market businesses.

Read more about Frank

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