Location intelligence platform xAd held an event in New York today for agencies and brands — “On Location.” While location intelligence is a hot topic, most marketers have only limited understanding of the space and its implications for the whole of digital marketing.
There are 20 (or more) companies now making similar-sounding claims about location targeting and brand analytics, giving rise to a perception of “commodification” around location and location data. The reality is much more nuanced; getting location right is hard.
Indeed, Google has developed the concept of “semantic location,” which is less about lat-longs and more about context (understanding places).
Amid the noise and marketing-speak, xAd is seeking to differentiate with utilities built on top of its extensive location data. At today’s event, the company made three related announcements. It’s expanding its relationship with comScore around store visitation measurement and it’s rolling out a premium version of its “Discovery” tool.
There is a great deal to be discovered in the data and with this tool: consumer behavior and visitation patterns, competitive data and considerably more.
The company is also introducing a neighborhood-level targeting and analytics product called “GeoBlocks.” GeoBlocks (above) are effectively more precise geofences, which have typically been radial and in some sense imprecise accordingly.
In its press materials, xAd explained GeoBlocks:
GeoBlocks [are] Hyper local neighborhoods which show high visitation with the store. For the first time with GeoBlocks, xAd allows marketers to identify pockets of consumers who have shown affinity for a brand within unique geographical areas where they live, work and play.
GeoBlocks are identified and drawn on the basis of actual store visitation data and scored by brand affinity and frequency. Thus xAd will show retailers and brands where their customers are coming from and where the concentration of customer segments are. There’s lots of other data appended to the geoblocks as well.
In one sense this is a lookalike audience product, since not everyone in the given GeoBlock is a Taco Bell customer or Whole Foods shopper. Beyond audience targeting, which can happen at national scale, there are lots of insights that can be derived from this data.
The company gets its user visitation data from 750 million devices and 100 million points of interest in North America, the UK and Asia.