Article

Charlie Smith
Charlie Smith 4 April 2019

Why Points of Interest are the Crown Jewels of Accurate Location Data

Mobile offers a unique asset in the form of location targeting and profiling. But with so many companies claiming to offer location data capability, how can marketers be sure that it is genuinely and reliably enhancing marketing efforts?

Last year saw the continuing upwards trend in mobile ad spend. Mobile continued to challenge display, accounting for more than half of search spend in Q2 2018. And when it came to Black Friday, mobile was a driving force behind sales – half of all orders at Argos were completed through mobile, whilst Carphone Warehouse reported an 8% growth in mobile orders. Mobile offers a unique asset in the form of location targeting and profiling. But with so many companies claiming to offer location data capability, how can marketers be sure that it is genuinely and reliably enhancing marketing efforts?

Let’s cut straight to the chase: location data needs to be layered with a strong dataset of up-to-date points of interest. For marketers, this would be a database of retail outlets, transport hubs, or other significant locations, and their coordinates. Anything that helps build a valuable picture of the mobile user would be considered a point of interest.

Think of it this way: if handset’s location history is available – in the form of latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates – how can this be of any use if you’re not sure what venue that equates to? Accuracy is key: with even margin of error of only a few metres, you could easily mistake a handset for being a regular visitor at Boots, when really it is repeatedly showing up the Waterstones next door.

With the capability of pinpointing this kind of behaviour accurately, there are a whole host of possibilities open to brands. A mobile footprint has the potential to reveal exactly which shops a handset went to, how frequently it went there, and how often it is visiting competing outlets. And beyond this, it can help power advertising to drive people into shops when they are nearby.

This sort of data and targeting capability is particularly valuable in the supermarket space. With discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl challenging the dominance of the Big Four, consumers have become increasingly “promiscuous” in their shopping for groceries. As customers look to make their money go further, they are visiting different supermarkets at once to make the most of price differences.

Consider a scenario in which Morrisons’ agency picks up on a planned opening of a Lidl near one of its own stores. Now would be a good time to run some advertising around their store to increase brand awareness, footfall and even target potential customers with special offers. By targeting devices that show up nearby, the aim would be to drive people into their shop whilst they are out and about.

But location can further build up the profile of both newly acquired and existing companies., Morrisons would be able to deduce where they have travelled from, for example, with evidence of which travel hub the handset has passed through. Similarly, the agency would be able to track valuable insights around whether they have previously visited a Tesco, a Sainsbury’s, a Waitrose or an Aldi – and how regularly they are doing so.

What is crucial is that the points of interest database that Morrisons is plugged into for these insights is accurate and well populated. Commercial properties change hands regularly as old shops close and new retailers take their place. Points of interest datasets must be kept fully up-to-date to match changes in ownership.

At the same time, with many companies supplying location data, there are a wide range of off-the-shop products for marketers – some of which don’t always work. Marketers will need to make sure that their data partner is transparent about how they collect and cross-reference data, and has evidence of their track record of adding value through their services.

In reality, marketers can only get the best out of location data when it is effectively correlated with points of interest data. And when this is aligned with a clear strategy of how to build detailed customer profiles, there is every opportunity to target the right individuals through the right campaign that suits them: be it, build brand awareness, loyalty and or visits into shops.

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