Use Cases for Location Data You May Not Have Considered
By Geoff Michener, CEO and co-founder of dataPlor
As people the world over slowly return to their respective new normals, they’re once again on the move. Whether headed downtown for their first concert in years or finally taking that postponed vacation abroad, consumers are relying on and generating invaluable location data. To get to that concert, for instance, they could use Uber, whose app is powered by location data. After getting dropped off, they might open Google Maps to search for a highly rated dinner spot in the vicinity, a move made possible by point of interest (POI) data.
But these user experiences are only half of the story. Location data isn’t merely something that we can toggle on and off with our iPhones. For business development and marketing professionals, it’s the key to unlocking growth.
Certainly, companies like Uber and Google provide intuitive examples of how this data can be put to use. Less apparent, however, is how it can personalize the user ad experience, enable a smarter approach to site selection, and serve as the basis of engaging, location-based entertainment. Let’s think about how these perhaps less obvious use cases illustrate the value businesses can generate from location data.
Personalize the customer’s ad experience
For marketers, location data is among the most direct means of nurturing relationships with customers by providing relevant and helpful information. For example, taking this route allows marketers to serve consumers with relevant out of home ads that result in less spend and higher ROI. This creates a more fulfilling experience by providing consumers with tailored offers at the perfect moment.
What are the approaches that a company can take to location-based advertising? Location data can drive mobile and geotargeting, geofencing and geo-conquesting, or beacons and proximity marketing to increase foot traffic and drive customers away from the competition. They can use digital or traditional OOH inventory, including billboards, vehicle signs, and digital screens in elevators and other locations, to reach those customers.
Let’s say that the big-box company Target wants to send ads to users of its proprietary app that point them toward a nearby store. With mobile targeting, these ads can be sent directly to consumers’ devices and made context specific. Relatedly, geotargeting can determine users’ locations and serve them messaging accordingly. These options, for example, could empower corporate to run a sale on AC units during a heatwave and to serve related ads to customers in affected regions that direct them to convenient points of sale.
Location data is also an effective tool for driving customers away from the competition. With mobility and POI data, Target can use geofencing to create boundaries at pools or other popular swimming locations. Once customers enter those areas, they’ll learn about the sale and think about buying an AC unit after taking a dip. Geo-conquesting can then dissuade them from making their purchase elsewhere; by creating a boundary around competitor lots and reaching consumers there, Target can show their deal to be the better one.
Once inside a Target location, customers can benefit from beacons and proximity marketing, and Target can help brands reach shoppers. Based on their location in the store, customers might receive highly targeted messaging on the Target app by way of devices on specific aisles that reinforces their reason for coming in the first place. Perhaps, for example, customers discover other ways to cool off such as discounted Super Soakers. With a location data-led strategy, Target can encourage customers in hot regions to buy an AC, steer them away from competitors, and allow brands to reach in-store shoppers, generating ad revenue to boot.
Sharpen site selection
Location data also allows brick-and-mortar businesses to get smart about site selection. Regardless of their sector, companies can turn to this data to make sure that site decisions yield the highest possible ROI.
While this data can of course help larger franchises, companies in more niche markets also stand to profit. Imagine that a high-end fashion brand from New York City wants to open a brick-and-mortar location in Los Angeles. With the right data, they can evaluate factors such as weather, mobility rates, foot traffic, and dwell times in specific neighborhoods to accelerate and fine-tune the decision-making process.
From there, the company can analyze POI data to determine possible competition and nearby, complementary locations. Having reviewed this data, the brand might choose L.A.’s trendy Arts District—a hotbed for their target audience—as a site. Not only that, but they would also be able to choose a storefront situated just next to a complementary POI (such as a highly sought-after coffee shop), an opportunity that would not have been visible without accurate geospatial data.
Create engaging location-based experiences
While these two use cases show how businesses can use location data to drive sales, geospatial information can also be an engine for the development of products and services themselves. This is especially true in the fast-growing industry of location-based entertainment (LBE), which often makes innovative use of emergent VR and AR technologies.
Nintendo’s Pokémon Go, for example, is an LBE experience that depends greatly on location data. One of the most successful mobile games ever created, Pokémon Go allows players across the globe to use the app to explore the world around them to discover digital creatures, which are placed in relation to specific POIs. These users might find a coveted Pokémon near their local pool, in a Target parking lot, or below one of the LA Arts District’s impressive murals.
Together, these cases show that when used wisely, location data represents an innovative—and even fun!—means of creating value. But the catch is that for location data to be an effective foundation for business strategy, it needs to be accurate. And much location data, especially abroad and in developing markets, is far from it.
So, when you’re thinking about using location data to drive growth, be sure to consider a wide range of use cases. Be sure, also, to vet the accuracy of your data. The success of your location data-driven strategy depends on it.