Location-based advertising is more popular than ever, but the mobile ecosystem remains littered with inaccurate data. That’s why Thinknear is unveiling Location Score Tags, a new tool that helps marketers be a better judge of the accuracy of their location data.
An extension of the firm’s Location Score technology released earlier this summer, the tags allow marketers to measure the quality of the location data used to target ads across a campaign and compare it against an industry benchmark. The tool is free, and it’s available to marketers whether or not they’re working with Thinknear.
Depending on the type of targeting tactics used, one consumer’s specific location could be accurate to within a couple of meters. In other cases, the data could be way off. Thinknear President Eli Portnoy said his company first realized the problems with location-based targeting when they were assessing the data-generated locations of some of their own mobile targets.
“We had impressions falling in places that didn’t make sense, falling into the middle of oceans,” Portnoy said in an exclusive interview with Street Fight. “It’s difficult to know if that person’s actually [where the data says] or not. You might find [the stated location] on a map and think they’re there, but there is very little feedback to know [if that’s the case]. … Advertisers don’t know they spent a whole bunch of money on people that aren’t where they thought.”
In many ways, mobile targeting has been a victim of its own success. Several years ago, location data was of little interest to advertisers, and so publishers disregarded it as well. But fast-forward to today, and location data has become a hot commodity among advertisers. Location data is now included in more than 67 percent of ad requests, according to Thinknear, up from just 10 percent in 2012.
Yet only 34 percent of the ad requests that include latitude and longitude data are accurate to within 100 meters of a user’s actual location. This means advertisers are paying to reach a lot of consumers that aren’t in a location relevant to the presented ad. Demand is so high that publishers are desperate to offer the data in some form, even if the quality isn’t there.
Thinknear is doing its part. The company based its Location Score Tags on data collected from 3.5 billion ad auctions on exchanges, as well as “well over 50 million impressions,” to establish an industry benchmark, Portnoy said.
Anyone interested in getting a score for their own mobile targeting tools can simply embed a small piece of tracking code into their mobile campaign creative, and on their campaign landing page. At the end of the campaign, users then receive a report on their mobile targeting accuracy, offering greater insight into how well consumers are actually being reached.
Over time, Location Score Tags will presumably weed out the bad bad location data providers from the data that actually deliver strong results.
“We want to bring transparency to the industry,” Portnoy said. To Portnoy, Location Score Tags are about holding data publishers accountable by bringing greater transparency to the industry.
Jonathan Crowl is a reporter with Street FIght.