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How Location Intelligence Brings Power to Digital Ad Campaigns

3 April 2019

Anyone who works in urban spaces knows the power of data. As cities are connected through smart sensor technology, the generated data intersects across multiple components of a city including traffic management, public safety, infrastructure and city planning.  An even greater impact is realised when sensor data is combined with geospatial data to generate location intellgence. In simple terms,

Geospatial data is any data with a spatial identifier referring to a position on the earth: a house, building, road, lake, mountain, or countless others. From a business intelligence perspective, company data streams with information such as customer address records, call center locations, utility lines, sales territories, and emergency room locations are all considered geographic data. "

West Monroe Partners

The Economic Opportunity of Location Intelligence

Location intelligence can reveal rich customer insights and enable marketers and retailers to create precise campaigns:

Financial Transactions

Data from bank transactions can be a tool to determine where to start a new business based on the revenue and profitability of businesses in a particular neighbourhood. Data can also reveal the socioeconomic status and demographic features of people who live, work or study in the area. Anonymised credit card transactions can even determine what days are most profitable, and whether transactions are carried out by locals or tourists. Data can reveal what countries tourists are coming from- not only to a city but at a more granular street by street level, creating the opportunity for hyper-local campaigns at key periods.

Foot Traffic

A London butcher's shop risked closure due to dwindling sales. They needed to understand their customers better, and thus installed a tracker to monitor the rate and peak times of footfall outside the shop. Unbeknownst their biggest passerby were travelling at night - to and from a nearby nightclub. They applied for an evening license to sell gourmet barbeque during this time, and today make over half their day's earnings in a single hour.

Smart Phones Create Even Greater Opportunities for Location Intelligence

Mobile location data is becoming one of the greatest data sources for marketers and advertisers. Research by The Times (reported in The New York Times) revealed that at least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather and other info. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in use last year. This includes people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day. Such data can be collected through Internet browsers, email, loyalty cards, weather apps, online maps, sat nav, and wearables.

Recently McDonald's partnered with Waze to create a campaign across digital out of home (DOOH) billboards in Southern California and the Waze app.  The Waze app mapped the location of around 300 McDonald’s billboards. When Waze users traveled along a route with one of these, the app pushed a “zero-speed takeover” ad, which appeared on the Waze device when the car stopped. The ad then offered drivers to change their travel route, including a nearby McDonalds. As a result, 8,400 drivers opted to reroute to a McDonald’s after seeing the advertisements.

Location and Mobile Data Converge to Create Potent Consumer Profiles

Consumer awareness of data tracking and monetization is now greater than ever thanks to research efforts like that of The Times. With who are we prepared to share our travel routes and the places we visit and what do we expect in return? While data generated through the Waze campaign could be used to study the routes commuters took to McDonald's to determine potential locations for new restaurants, it could also inadvertently reveal personal information such as when someone left a location they would prefer to remain private such as a local school, mental health or family planning clinic.

But apps such as Waze are opt-in and already operate on a data share model -  Users drive with the app open, and it enables them to share real-time data such as traffic, accidents, police locations and weather conditions with other drivers. Waze collects this information and immediately analyzes it in order to provide other Waze users with the most optimal route to their destination, 24 hours a day.

The reality is that consumers will need to decide how they engage with both apps and digital advertising as digital out of home (DOOH) advertising is being used increasingly in cross-channel marketing. Anyone who walks with a mobile phone is already supplying a rich smorgasbord of data to advertisers. But despite consumers becoming increasingly aware of this fact, their receptiveness to interactive digital campaigns means that this engagement is not going away anytime soon.

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