Google’s calculated risk in creating a low bar for verification works out fine in a world where most business owners simply want to gain legitimate access to their own listings, and most businesses do operate within those ethical boundaries. But as we’ve seen elsewhere at this stage in the evolution of social networks, fraud and deceptive manipulation have become a kind of ghost in the machine, dominating darker sectors of the local marketplace and creating an atmosphere of distrust that may eventually prove more broadly contagious.
All of this is only possible when lots of activity is consolidated on a few platforms. Just as fake accounts attempting to engineer the 2016 election thrived in the vast and complex Facebook ecosystem, so too has Google’s dominance in local attracted its own horde of opportunists, drawn like moths to its flame. Indeed, fraud in local listings is just the latest in a long history of attempts, from link farms to keyword spam, to manipulate loopholes in Google’s regulations and algorithms.
Good news for the whole location-based marketing industry—a new report from location data firm Factual based on a survey of location data buyers finds the field is getting more effective and better at measuring its results. Nearly 9 in 10 marketers said location data is driving more effective campaigns. Eighty-six percent said it’s growing their customer base, and 84% reported higher customer engagement.
However, while use of location-based marketing is set to grow to 94%, only 24% use it or are planning to use it to establish offline attribution.
Factual, one of many companies in the location intelligence space, emphasizes offline foot traffic and “visitation insights.” Tracking the elusive online-to-offline buying journey is the name of the game, and Factual touts the advantage of a 300-million device observation graph. Factual VP Ocean Fine breaks down her company’s approach to location on our latest podcast.
Online metrics, like click-through rates and return-on-ad-spend, can quickly show ecommerce retailers how well their digital advertising campaigns are working. But what happens in the real world? The KPIs used in ecommerce mean almost nothing to brick-and-mortar merchants. In fact, digital approximations can actually cause merchants with physical locations to overspend on certain audience segments, while undervaluing others.
That’s something Zenreach is trying to change.
The location market has matured beyond push. The value of micro-location technology is now built on hyper-accurate analytics on where users go in the physical world, allowing advertisers to re-target them with a variety of omnichannel marketing efforts. Here are a few exciting use cases that highlight the power of hyper-accurate location-based marketing technology.
Let’s face it—we are a long way from being able to show that digital campaigns, and most other advertising formats, resulted in specific in-store sales. There are simply too many unconnected data silos to stitch together meaningful and statistically relevant results. The ad seen on TV can’t inform your phone or laptop that it’s also seen the ad, while the point-of-sale system or online checkout can’t notify those previous touch points to confirm the sale occurred. So if the scale of accurate location data prevents it from being a true stand-alone solution for proving attribution, what role will it play?
While SMB digital marketing spend has seen a steady rise, SMBs are being more conservative about the agencies and vendors with which they partner. In the transparency era, consolidating spend with a select group of trusted agency partners that offer multiple core services is now the norm.
For agencies that cater to SMB brands, these trends have created opportunities and challenges. There is money to be had, but only organizations that differentiate themselves from the competition and can deliver clear ROI will benefit. So how can SMB agencies show their value to brands and ensure revenue growth? There are three opportunity areas, in particular, that can help.
It only takes listing correct and comprehensive information on Google, Yelp, and Bing for a brand or small business to earn 90% on location management solution Uberall’s voice search readiness test. Yet only 4% of the businesses in the company’s latest study, which examined the voice preparedness of 75,000 listings, had correct info on all three of those major directories.
In 2019, we are just scratching the surface of location data’s potential for improving the ROI of advertising and marketing. As we approach the next decade, location intelligence will be a major factor in determining which brands thrive and exist in the many years to come and which ones fall by the wayside by not taking their data seriously enough.
Location data is serving as the conduit to connect consumer-facing marketing initiatives with behind-the-scenes merchandising and logistics. According to a survey by Blis, WBR Insights, and Future Stores, the majority of retail marketers (71%) have some type of location strategy in place, with the primary goal being to drive foot traffic and trigger location-based mobile advertising. That’s not a particular surprise, given how popular the latest location-based marketing tactics have become. More surprising, however, is how common it has become for retailers to use location data for local product and inventory search (60%) and localized online customer service (51%).
Marketing technology end-to-end platform RhythmOne announced an expansion of its relationship with attribution solution Placed this week, incorporating linear tv measurements into their already existing partnership.
The imperfections of location-tracking tech do not mean that all location data derived from GPS satellites is inaccurate or useless as a marketing tool. It just means that marketers need to better set their expectations, know the data they are buying, and factor the limitations into their partnership agreements and marketing plans.
When selecting data for mobile campaigns, don’t base your decision solely on claims about precision or how many decimal places appear in the coordinates, and definitely don’t mistake precision for accuracy. Precision is important, but the value of precision hinges on data accuracy.
Doing location targeting right is no simple matter, and common claims about it require further scrutiny. Accuracy of a location through parcel targeting, a rapid refresh audience strategy, and reaching the right people at scale through IP and cross-device targeting will make a major difference in location-based campaign outcomes.
Years of ingrained assumptions about the way cars are marketed and sold have made the automotive industry a challenge for hyperlocal vendors. But at Kia of Bedford, Director of Operations David Gruhin is finding unexpected success with location-based marketing tactics.
In a bid to address quality concerns currently looming over the mobile advertising industry, Ericsson Emodo is launching a product that uses carrier data at scale to pre-verify mobile audiences and inventory, and then makes those audience segments available through any major demand-side platform.
When consumers visit physical stores, the likelihood that they will complete a purchase shoots up, especially in comparison to the likelihood they will make a purchase after visiting a digital site. “Visits lead to sales,” was the message of Hongzhe Sun of GroundTruth, one of the sponsors of Street Fight Summit in New York Wednesday.