Mark Slade
Mark Slade 9 April 2020

Why Brands Are Being Set Back By Squeezed Location Data Supply

GDPR and CCPA, coupled with operating systems such as iOS13, brought with them a raft of key changes to address consumer privacy concerns. For marketers, however, there has been a significant drop in the availability of location data. This is resulting is wasted ad-spend and poor performance campaigns. They need to plug the gap fast.

Now is the time for brands and agencies to get a detailed picture of their location spend to drive better performance. This will be needed in the months ahead as companies look to gain a competitive edge.  

To address an issue, we first need to understand it. So here’s how squeezed location data supply impacts the quality of location data. 

More inaccurate IP data  

The introduction of new regulations has afforded users greater control over whether or not to share their GPS data, with many refraining from doing so. Denied valuable data, companies are starved of their most reliable source of information. As a result they are turning – sometimes unwittingly - to IP, GPS’ more inaccurate, unreliable cousin.   

The statistics back this up. Following the introduction of iOS 13, there was a 24% decrease in quality GPS data and a doubling of low accuracy IP data.  

This is concerning: GPS data is relatively precise, with readings typically accurate up to 4.9 metres; whereas IP data is less exact, only capable of precision up to 1km. The reliance on IP over GPS is at the crux of the issue of diminishing location data quality. 

Increased inaccuracy and fraud  

A reliance on IP data is not always intentional. With the changes causing a reduction in the amount of information available, companies have attempted to fill the resulting chasm by accruing alternative data. A red flag to a bull, opportunistic fraudsters have flooded the market with poor quality IP data – often packaged as something else – leaving brands uncertain of the quality of their information. 

This is common, with vast amounts invested in poor quality data. As a result, our studies show that up to two-thirds of ad spend is being wasted and that brands could save up to 80% on their spend by removing inaccurate and poor-quality data. As much to do with misinformation as general misunderstanding, companies are playing an active role in their own downfall, paying the price for not taking the measures to tackle their own largely inaccurate pools of data.  

However, in light of the changes, companies are waking up to the new reality – albeit slowly. Confronted with the startling realisation that their data in often inaccurate, brands have realised they’ve been duped – tricked by fraudsters who for too long have been accountable to no-one. 

Stepping in  

The result of all this is diminished confidence in location data quality and wasted funds on mistargeted campaigns. Less accurate sources of data result in a reduction in overall quality, leaving companies susceptible to fraud and unable of reach target audiences. What, then, is the solution? 

A specialist third-party verification service is essential to authenticate and grade location-based advertising. No-one else is allowed to mark and grade their own homework, so why should companies reporting on location-based ad campaigns? They need to be held accountable. 

Mark Slade, CEO, Location Sciences 

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