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Expert Roundup: How Will Location Intelligence Transform This Year? Part II

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Location intelligence continues to be a tentpole topic in local commerce. This is the subsector of the broader local media, advertising, and commerce worlds that works with location data and targeting. It’s Street Fight’s theme for the month of April, and it continues to transform rapidly. 

Much of that transformation is due to the privacy backlash that is driving new restrictions on data collection. Public-sector measures such as GDPR, CCPA, and the rest of the legislative alphabet soup are bearing down. Private-sector measures also loom large, such as Apple and Google’s platform moves

To define the current state and future trajectory of location intelligence, we’ve rounded up top industry voices and thought leaders. This is part of Street Fight’s new monthly tradition in which we tap our community to provide insights on each month’s editorial theme.  

Continuing from Part I last week, here are more insights we were able to gather from the community.

Expert Roundup: How Will Location Intelligence Transform This Year?

Dan Silver, SVP, Marketing, GroundTruth, on connected TV and over-the-top targeting

This past year magnified the need for businesses all across the country to find new ways to evolve their products and their marketing strategies to help get consumers back into their physical locations. Location-based advertising strategies have proven to be important to re-capturing those customers, allowing marketers to key in on local relevance, convenience, and efficiency. They are also providing a whole new level of reach and targeting capabilities for broadcast advertising thanks to the strong growth of over-the-top (OTT) and Connected TV (CTV).

Although advertisers running national campaigns were among the early adopters of CTV and OTT, the publisher pool is rapidly growing to include more available content. This is creating TV advertising opportunities for businesses of all sizes to extend their video advertising to the big screen. Because OTT and CTV are digital platforms, marketers can plan their video campaigns the same way they do mobile and desktop. And unlike traditional TV marketing, which requires you to commit to a block of time with narrow targeting parameters, CTV and OTT give marketers the ability to test advertising effectiveness with offline contextual-based audiences and a variety of ad formats. Interactive video, call-to-action, animated, and static are all ad types brands are utilizing with offline audience targeting.

Compared to other digital advertising options, OTT and CTV are still in early development, but the benefits and future potential far outweigh some of the unknowns. There’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to CTV and OTT advertising, which is being fueled by greater reach and personalization possibilities through location intelligence, including:

  • Audience Targeting – Reach consumers based on hundreds of attributes including fitness activity, shopping preferences and demographic data like household income. Markets can also overlay insights into CRM data to retarget to loyal customers or re-engage lapsed customers.
  • Geo-targeting – Marketers with multiple locations across the country can activate CTV and OTT video ad campaigns based on specific geographical areas such as state, DMA, zip codes, or even current weather and forecasted conditions.
  • Accurate Analytics – CTV leverages digital capabilities when it comes to measuring ad performance. Advertisers can track ad-side metrics such as ad completion rates as well as the viewers’ actions after seeing the ad, like website visits and even offline conversions.
  • Measurable Results – Understand the impact of your OTT and CTV campaigns through metrics such as foot traffic attribution, impression, reach, and video completion rate. These performance metrics can help optimize current and future campaigns.

As consumers continue to change their TV habits and shift their consumption towards OTT content, it’s important for marketers to understand the benefits of using this growing medium to engage consumers at greater scale than traditional mediums. What once seemed complicated and unaffordable to most is becoming more accessible and appealing due to the benefits of addressable targeting and granular reporting.

Alex Wright, Global Insight Director, Blis on the online/offline interplay

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: changes to cookies and IDFAs are causing mayhem within the ad tech ecosystem. If the case for location is that it offers an unfiltered lens on everyday real-world behavior, then privacy regulations do not fundamentally damage that beyond changing the aperture.

We don’t know what the extent of the impact will be, but the past 12 months have taught us lots of things, and one of them was that movement matters.

We all felt the absence when the previously unquestioned liberties of visiting friends and relatives, catching up in social venues, catching a flight, staying in a hotel, traveling outside your local area, or even visiting the coffee shop were temporarily removed.

Movement matters. And if movement matters to people, then it matters to businesses.

It’s become increasingly obvious that the delineation between the online and offline worlds was really just a construct created by us in the advertising and media industries — because consumers never paid mind to the gap. The rise in e-commerce (and the digitization of other analog behaviors, from entertainment to communication) through 2020 occurred across the market as a whole and wasn’t limited to certain verticals or certain audiences. It was assimilated further into everyday behavior as both consumers and businesses looked to adapt to cope and to survive.

Understanding the consumer interplay between physical and digital stores – a concern fast-tracked by necessity through the pandemic – will be increasingly fundamental for retailers as they reassess the role of their real estate.

What will stores come to represent? Service overstock? Experience over transaction? Local outposts for deliveries, collections, and returns? Shrines to the brands they house? And what implications does this have in terms of store size, store distribution/density, and staffing?

The integration of location data as a complement and contemporary to search, social, first-party data, syndicated sources, and market research will be keenly watched by all of us here.

Ajay Gupta, CEO, Stirista, on location intelligence’s evolution

Revolutionary improvements are currently underway to both the precision and accuracy of location intelligence. Effective this month, the FCC has mandated that carriers provide z-axis data, along with the latitude and longitude markers, for all wireless 911 calls to indicate a device’s vertical location. While the FCC ruling is intended for public safety, there are benefits to the ad tech community, as device locations will now be able to pinpoint a device within three meters or one floor in 80% of multi-level buildings in the Top 25 markets – and in the Top 50 markets by 2023.

Today, martech companies collect numerous data attributes from various sources to determine the device location. The data quality and scale vary significantly from beacons, mobile app SDKs, Wi-Fi, and cellular location data, to name a few. The new FCC rule will substantially increase the scale of cellular location and improve location data.

Martech’s use of location intelligence for enhanced targeting and relevancy has seen a fantastic evolution in a short time, and directional signs remain popular because they work. The continued improvements in the data sources are why mobile ad spend will be $30 billion in 2021, more than double the $12.4 billion spent in 2016. Mobile ad spending will increase even faster as z-axis data makes its way into martech and further improves segmentation, real-time targeting, customer insights, and attribution.

Regardless of a retail presence, location intelligence benefits B2B and B2C businesses, so it is essential for marketing to include location signals for recency and frequency indicators and ensure their providers combine multiple location sources, maintain high data quality, and have z-axis data on their roadmap. These technologies enable marketers to track and measure which consumers come into stores or fuel ABM marketing based on location. Even the best human directional can’t do all of that.