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IAB's Mobile Location Seminar discusses trends

With 66 per cent of marketers saying that location-based advertising is the ‘most exciting’ mobile opportunity for 2016, industry leaders such as Blis, Trinity Mirror and Mindshare came together at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)’s Mobile Location Seminar to discuss what sets mobile apart from other forms of media, and the significance of location data.

The event couldn’t have come at a more opportune time; in recent weeks, in particular, we’ve witnessed mobile location data really come to the fore thanks to the Pokémon Go phenomenon. With 7.5 million downloads in the US in less than a month, it poses the question of how marketers can leverage this data to achieve engaging and effective results.

As the speakers all noted, location can add another contextual layer to further enhance advertising across devices, as gathering multiple real-time data sources over time can provide powerful insights. This data can be active or passive mobile data and behavioural data from apps and websites, which can reveal an individual’s commuting patterns, their affluence and digitality. As Annie Lemaire-Brooks, Senior Sales Manager at Blis explained at the event, ‘Different locations are the pieces of the puzzle that put together the full picture of human behaviour, and mobile is the glue that pieces cross-platform campaigns together.’

Historical data can not only help execute an omnipresent targeting strategy, allowing for better OOH (out of home advertising) and targeting of drive-by audiences, but can also be used to advise better business decisions and offer valuable insights, from city planning to driving smart health initiatives and IoT. For example, according to WEVE, data gathered from O2’s 24 million user database was able to reveal which stations experience the most traffic, namely Oxford Circus and Green Park, or that Thursday is the busiest day on the London underground.

One of the essential factors for successful mobile location strategies is accuracy and data verification. Proximity is not fit for purpose unless there’s a 5-metre precision, making it crucial to check the data source, its scalability, the methodology used to collect it and how transparent they are. Blis referenced the case of 82-year old Joyce Taylor from Kansas, who’s experienced the true cost of inaccurate location data, by being subject to FBI visits, threats and online exposure, thanks to a company which placed IP addresses that have no geographical data attached to them on her land.

As the speakers agreed, there is consequently a great need for marketers to look at consumers as people, and not users. The potential for ads to be personalised and measured is huge, as data insights allow for the timing, messaging, format and platform to be matched to the audience. When it comes to location advertising, measuring the effectiveness of campaigns is evolving, with click-through rate (CTR) being considered a flawed measure. The trend is towards measuring both digital and physical impact, i.e. real world behaviour that can be driven my mobile, such as footfall and sales.

According to recent research by Blis, at least 14 per cent of the UK population is engaging with a brand as a direct result of location-derived advertising over mobile devices, accounting for more than 9 million consumers, making the location market an essential one to keep track of and tap into. However, consumers’ interest must always be at the forefront of each campaign, which is often related to data usage, battery life and connectivity. By securing their consent and providing control and transparency over their data, it’s up to every industry player to make this the year of the UK tech-savvy consumers.