What Brands Need To Ask About Location Data Quality

There are so many sources and providers of geo-data. How can brands make sense of it? InMarket's Todd Dipaola has some suggestions for marketers who want the right solution.

While all major marketers have widely accepted the role of location as a factor in marketing that connects online and offline behaviors, being able to sort through the various providers, services, and tools available remains daunting and confusing.

Leaving aside technical questions about which data sources are stronger —wifi, GPS, cell phone towers — marketers need to start with more basic queries about where the information is from, says Todd Dipaola, CEO and co-founder of proximity platform InMarket (and rather than play to his company’s natural biases around beacons, our conversation stuck to the larger understanding of location data uses).

GeoMarketing: What’s the first thing a brand should ask a location business services provider to determine the quality of the information being gleaned from their data?

Todd Dipaola: The key question marketers need to ask when it comes to evaluating the location data they’re getting is: “Did the provider actually pull location directly from the devices themselves?” That qualifies everything. The other one marketers should ask: “Can you reach people in the store, versus can you reach people walking nearby, within a geofence?”

How do you see the value of looking at whether the location signal is coming from in-store or around the store?

It’s the difference between reaching people actually at the moment of truth, not near the moment of truth. That’s a good differentiator for various approaches for using location targeting. It all depends on what a campaign is actually for. There are many times when simply being around the location is good enough.

That sounds like what Google refers to as “micro-moments” — the use of mobile search to satisfy an immediate desire, from looking for “the best coffee near me” to an auto mechanic.

Yeah, at that moment of truth, that’s a big difference as well as the kind of full cycle information on this person. So the question about location data in that situation is, “Is the location signal periodic when there’s a banner? Or is there actual consistent location data that tells the full story behind that consumer’s behavior?”

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David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

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