Having pivoted from a location-centric social app of sorts to a location intelligence platform, Foursquare has positioned itself well to offer brands attributable marketing success and verified data points at a time when concerns about both data quality and privacy are as widespread as ever. Foursquare says it throws out about 80% of the third-party data it consumes, an act intended to preserve the quality of its largely first-party data store.
AT&T announced late last week that it will stop selling location data, following an investigation from multimedia publication Motherboard indicating that a bounty hunter (yes, bounty hunter) equipped with a few hundred bucks and a phone number can track down the phone’s owner within a couple blocks’ radius. Verizon and T-Mobile joined AT&T in saying they would soon wind down any remaining location-data sharing deals.
While the Gap says its decisions are being made based on traffic trends and profits—the brand saw a 7% decline in quarterly comparable sales—data scientists from top technology firms are working feverishly behind the scenes to use big data to predict which store closures could come next. Having a heads up on which retail locations have a high likelihood of closing could benefit those in the commercial real estate sector, as well as retail brands looking to decide on future store locations.
The move is representative of changing winds on attitudes toward privacy in the location data ecosystem. Following a series of New York Times Facebook and location data exposés and explainers, and with America’s own GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act, slated to go into effect on January 1, 2019, companies are waking up to a new reality in which selling and sharing user data to the tune of billions of dollars in revenue with little oversight is over.
While visual search isn’t exactly catching on like fire yet, its evolution is buttressed by powerful developments of late in the tech industry. Among these: smartphones are increasingly ubiquitous, more efficient, and we’re all more accustomed to using them; investment in AI from both big companies and startups is widespread, making machine vision more effective; and augmented reality (AR), a similar modality in which tech overlays graphics onto images captured via camera lens, is taking off. Below are a few ways visual search will play out in local and retail in 2019.
Jake Moskowitz: In media, transparency demands accountability. In other words, it means asking media suppliers to “prove it.” It means expecting suppliers to “show me the viewability and fraud percentages, and allow me to suppress ads from running next to unsafe content.” Today, when it pertains to data, transparency just means “tell me where the data came from”—that’s it. That is not enough.
Greg Isbister: The next year will see a marked shift for location data. As consumers and businesses alike see more value and additional uses for this data, industry growth will continue to increase exponentially. Until regulations are put in place to increase security and transparency, it will be up to businesses to institute their own best practices, getting ahead of legislation to come.
What exactly did Facebook do wrong, and what do its supposed wrongs portend for the future of data-driven, and especially location data-driven, marketing? Here are some major takeaways pertaining to future legislation, likely consumer reactions, and the distinction between data selling and sharing.
Though their terms are not identical, in essence both GDPR and CCPA are designed to give consumers the power to stop companies from collecting personal data, to review all personal data a company may have collected, and to request deletion of any stored data. Both regulations strike a major blow in favor of the concept that ownership of personal data ultimately resides with the individual and not with companies who may profit from it.
Beacons have grown into a nuanced component of successful mobile marketing. We’ve learned what they do best—strengthen advertiser approaches to metrics and measurement as well as the relevance and contextual richness of on-the-ground, in- or near-store experiences—and we’ve figured out that while push notifications can be a part of the story, they aren’t the main narrative.
Platforms, brands, and vendors benefiting from the reams of location data used to hit consumers with highly targeted ads should be paying attention to a change suggested by Google and Facebook’s appearances before government authorities, a New York Times exposé out Monday, and most importantly the impending arrival of GDPR-like legislation in the United States: 2019 will be the year privacy actually matters, posing a potentially devastating threat to the status quo of the location-based data and marketing industries.
You need proven industry benchmarks if you want to set realistic goals and expectations for location data-driven marketing. Going forward, these norms can help you form and answer key questions about location data-based tactics, so you can make more informed data decisions.
As the location data industry progresses as a community, companies in our ecosystem naturally form into a kind of pyramid—NOT a hierarchical one but one that reflects how the different location companies fit into the ecosystem, who does what, their limitations, and their areas of focus.
What if seemingly inconsequential data—and location data, in particular—could actually be re-harnessed and used to provide additional revenue-generating opportunities for brands? That’s the concept behind a new report out from the global geolocation data and services provider Digital Element.
Brands surveyed by Street Fight rate email, direct mail, and their company page on social media as their most effective local marketing tactics. At the same time, a small group of early adopters is using location data to make their overall local digital marketing more effective.
Location marketing firm Uberall has acquired rival Navads and raised an additional $25 million in venture funding after closing a series B for the same amount just earlier this year. The exact terms of the acquisition deal are undisclosed.
On Monday, applied data science company Dstillery of New York City launched its Dscover Maps product, which allows advertisers to get a big-picture view of audience data by geography. Dstillery throws out data points that aren’t useful to them—about 60 to 75% of data—leaving only quality information.
With less than three months to go until the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation goes into effect, businesses around the globe are looking for information on how to stay in compliance with what’s been described as the most important change in data privacy regulations in the past two decades.
Third-party customer location data isn’t used widely by multi-location brands, but those that use it appear to have better success with local digital marketing.
For marketers, the ability to deploy technology that identifies and bypasses online users who may be masking their locations and digital traits yields improvement in the form of targeted campaigns and fewer wasted impressions.