Finding Audiences: Not All Location Data Are Created Equal
Location has levels of precision, and much of the data out there may not be up to marketers’ expectations.
SINGAPORE – Location data are a key tool in marketing’s current quest to find consumers and the context they inhabit at any particular moment.
But while brands around the world are navigating their way with location data, the fact remains that not all data is good, Andrew Darling, director of communications with Blis, told Campaign Asia-Pacific.
Darling said that one of the biggest problems with location is achieving accuracy at scale. The industry wants to have perfect [location-based] experiences for the individual, but there is also a need to make sure that the information is accurate.
“It’s not about just about one individual’s location, but figuring out ways that we can scale that kind of targeted approach,” he said. “This is an industry-wide problem and everyone has different approaches to dealing with it, but it’s worth bearing in mind that ad-tech providers that haven’t built their own proprietary tech platforms from a ‘mobile-first’ perspective will not be delivering a high-quality data product.”
Darling said that raw location data is known to have the downside of being inaccurate.
“We have looked at GPS latitude/longitude data coming across the platform from publishers and exchanges, and our analysis shows up to 90 percent of this data can be inaccurate or even false,” he said.
Darling noted that in terms of the accuracy of Asia’s location data, the situation largely mirrors the international, as nearly 80 percent of location is obtained by publishers using an IP address, which is neither a precise nor accurate method.
“The reasons are myriad,” he said. “Publishers take location data from data providers who only use city or street-level GPS coordinates, and so the accuracy is low. The publishers think they can sell the inventory for higher premium with location attached, but it’s useless unless it’s been verified and ‘cleaned’.”
It is here that Darling believes companies like his have a role to play. Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst at Forrester, while not specifically promoting Blis or any other provider, noted that as far as she knows, most marketers in Asia don’t have that level of expertise on data in-house.
“They rely on external help, via agencies or data and tech vendors,” she said.
Darling said the company has a stringent process, comprising six steps and the cross-referencing of IP addresses against its own points-of-interest database, to verify its data. If the data doesn’t pass these tests, it gets thrown out.
He added that publishers in the region need to stop looking at the cheapest third-party location data provider and start looking at building integrating SDKs from quality, proven providers. “Big data has made digital marketing smarter, but an important problem persists today,” he added. “There is a deluge of location data, some of which is highly inaccurate. For instance, having 10,000 data points identified at the same time within 1 square metre of where a server is hosted, but still having that information included in the decision-making process.”
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Tags: Andrew Darling, Audiences, Campaign Asia, Location data, Marketers