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IAB Primer Touts The ‘Magic’ Of Geo-Data Beyond Mobile

But in order for the trick to work, marketers need to understand how to put location in context.

Dstillery's Lauren Moores
Dstillery’s Lauren Moores

After years of hearing its members complain about the limited utility of clickthroughs when it comes to pulling in lucrative branding campaigns, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is continuing its education around the expansive value of location data by suggesting how “geo” can play a clearer role across all media channels.

The IAB’s Marketing ROI and Location Data (pdf) offers a glance at how various kinds of geo-data can be used to advance marketing attribution — i.e., understanding how well certain aspects of an ad performed — and whether brands got what they paid for when it comes to their online ad spending.

The industry trade group’s paper can be seen as part of a series of advice on the best uses of geo-data since last year. In December, the IAB’s “Mobile Data Primer” offered to “demystify” the sea of jargon and acronyms that have risen almost as fast as spending tied to smartphones and portable devices.

And in the summer of 2014, the IAB issued a checklist of questions for media buyers to consider before meeting with clients. All of this activity has been conducted by the IAB Mobile Location Data Working Group, which oversees “best practices” for geo-related advertising under the online ad organization’s wider Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence.

Geo Beats CTR

This work is all in response to a greater recognition by brands and ad tech companies that that location-based advertising is no longer a niche within another niche — namely mobile advertising.

As Lauren Moores, VP of Analytics at digital data specialist Dstillery, writes in a blog post accompanying this latest IAB report on location, clickthroughs alone are no longer an acceptable gauge of digital advertising success and spending accountability.

“Research shows that clicks on online display ads are often not correlated with brand awareness or purchase intent, and using clicks in mobile as brand interest can be even more of an issue,” Moores says. “Since clicks are not good indicators of consumer brand awareness or purchase intent, we can look to the growth in marketing data to help us find alternatives.”

The Arsenal Of Digital Signals

The growth of “mobility” beyond smartphones — e.g., tablets, Internet of Things, wearables, beacons, etc. — is the key for location’s increased importance to marketers. The consumer data that is collected from all those connected devices naturally improves the industry’s ability to measure ad effectiveness.

“As the consumption of digital media continues to move to devices which can provide mobility data, the arsenal of physical signals of user behaviors explodes,” Moores says, noting that location-data is the common denominator in all digital gadgets consumers interact with throughout their day.

“Cross-channel location data is essential for enhancing our ability to measure the effectiveness of advertising by actually allowing us to measure the effect of online to offline on a broad scale and not just for those users who we have been able to track through qualitative surveys and diaries,” Moores adds.

"Once location is in context, we can connect digital campaign information to the corresponding audience interaction in the physical world to achieve that dream of measuring the effect of online brand interactions to offline sales as we know online channels have increasing influence," says Moores.
“We can connect digital campaign information to the corresponding audience interaction in the physical world to achieve that dream of measuring the effect of online brand interactions to offline sales as we know online channels have increasing influence,” says Moores.

Passive/Aggressive Location Data

Among the different “signals” that come from consumers and their portable digital devices, “passive location data” is the ultimate opt-in for marketers, Moores says. It works when users allow their lat/long signal to be collected by specific apps in the background, as opposed to hitting the “agree” button when a publisher issues a push notification to a person’s phone asking for permission to access their place information. For consumers, keeping their location services on their phone as they go about their day makes it easy for check-ins, photo tagging, social posts and more, Moores notes.

With access to passive data, location can do much more than simply geo-fence a retailer and its rivals to target. As a number of location-based ad companies often note, geo-data’s primary value is its ability to produce clear insights on consumers’ online-to-offline behavior over time.

The constant flow of consumer “signals” from brick-and-mortar shops to events is a treasure trove that marketers are only beginning to understand. And as Moores points out, the best way to understand location-data is within the context of other data points.

Even CTR can be imbued with greater worth when combined with geo-data. The same is true when analytics informed by the places consumers have been is matched with behavioral information tied to desktop, TV, out-of-home, and other media formats.

“The magic of location data is the power of its signal when it is accurate and associated with other relevant metadata,” Moores says. “Once location is in context, we can connect digital campaign information to the corresponding audience interaction in the physical world to achieve that dream of measuring the effect of online brand interactions to offline sales as we know online channels have increasing influence on offline sales.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.