Here’s How Marketers Are Using Location Data

July 13, 2020

Foursquare Uses of Location Data July2020More and more companies are collecting and using location data, and new data suggests that the primary reason for doing so is to identify new consumer markets. A new report [download page] from FourSquare and Advertiser Perceptions shows that nearly three-quarters (73%) of the marketing decision-makers surveyed use location data for this purpose.

But being able to discover new markets isn’t the only use of location data. Seven in 10 (71%) respondents say they are using this data to serve location-based advertising, while others are using it to measure and quantify ROI (65%), offer personalized experiences to customers (65%), and enhance customer analytics (64%). A majority also use location data in order to generate competitive intelligence (57%), build out customer profiles (55%) and derive deeper store insights (53%).

The Benefits of Location Data

Although location data plays a role throughout the entire buying funnel, two-thirds (67%) of respondents feel that it is critical to upper-funnel activity, while fewer than half as many believe that it is critical for achieving their marketing goals in the mid (29%) or lower (32%) funnel.

Decision-makers do see several benefits to using location data. Improved engagement/receptiveness and improved ROI both ranked in the top 3 benefits for about half (48%) of those surveyed. Marketers also cited relevant content for customers (37%), measurement campaign effectiveness/offline measurement (35%) and audience insights (32%) as being among their top three benefits of using location data.

Privacy is the Biggest Obstacle

When asked what the biggest obstacles are to using location data, accuracy/quality (37%), availability of real-time data (32%), cost (25%), ability to apply or integrate data (25%) and defining and measuring ROI (25%) were some of the most popular responses (top 3 rankings). However, the biggest obstacle, cited by more than two-fifths (43%) of marketers is concern around privacy.

Such concerns are well-founded. Previous research shows that Americans are feeling less secure about their personal data than in the past, and only about one-third (34%) of US smartphone owners are comfortable sharing their location data for marketing purposes. Added to that, the majority of those adults who do share their location with some mobile apps are most likely doing so for map or weather apps.

Regulations such as GDPR and CCPA have caused marketers using location data to address these privacy concerns. Some 6 in 10 (57%) say they have increased transparency around data use. Meanwhile, more than half (54%) report that they have created new internal standards, while others have considered new advertising channels and/or platforms (41%), limited the information collected or included in customer profiles (39%) and reduced the amount of customer tracking (39%).

Location Data Performance

Of course, getting to the actionable insights from location data is important to achieving marketing goals. This can be aided by location-based solutions. The marketers surveyed say that these solutions help to answer several critical questions, including:

  • “How can we gain insights into the customer journey?”
  • “What type of customer should our company target to get advertising performance?”; and
  • “What can we do to influence customer offline behaviors to drive in-store conversations?”

Measuring performance is also critical, with 7 in 10 (71%) respondents saying that strong location-based performance has enabled them to invest more in location-based data. Respondents also report that location data measurement has been excellent in helping them to achieve metrics such as digital campaign attribution (62%), TV activity or attribution (55%) and advanced metrics such as lift and incrementality (55%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 150 US marketing decision-makers from the Advertiser Perceptions Ad Pros Community, fielded in March 2020.

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