A Viewpoint on Location Marketing from an Agency Head of Behavioural Science

GroundTruth recently undertook a quantitative research study into opinions on location-based advertising amongst digital professionals in the UK, which revealed marketers consider it the lynchpin between online and offline behaviours. To delve a little deeper into the findings, we have conducted interviews with a host of industry leaders from brands, agency, consultant and trade body point of view.

In this third interview, we speak to Richard Shotton, deputy Head of Evidence at MG OMD and author of ‘The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy’.

What is the primary benefit of location data in advertising?

Our survey found 71% of respondents believed location data has the ability to provide customer insights that no other channel can.

One of the key strengths of location data is as an insight tool. It gives advertisers another way of understanding what motivates consumers.

We need a variety of techniques to understand consumers as every research method has strengths and weaknesses.

The strength of location data is that it’s based on real behaviour rather than claimed behaviour.

The strength of location data is that it’s based on real behaviour rather than claimed behaviour.

That’s particularly useful on two occasions. First, claimed data can fall victim to the social desirability bias. That is, survey respondents answer in a way that reflects well on them rather than reflecting their genuine beliefs. So, for example, if you want to know how many times people visit fast-food outlets asking them might give you an under-representation. Location data can help you avoid this problem.

Second, there are certain questions that consumers find difficult to answer. Questions about how often they visit a particular shop for example. Consumers may struggle to remember a trivial detail like this because they have more important concerns. Again, location data can help you here.

How are you using location data to plan activity in other media channels?

Our survey found 83% believe that the data collected from location targeting can be used to plan other media channels.

Location data is useful in planning offline media campaigns as well as online ones. For example, location data can help you accurately identify the travel patterns of your target audience. That data can then be used to improve the sites and time of days that you use for your outdoor advertising.

What are you most excited about in advertising in the coming year?

That behavioural science is finally being accepted as a bedrock of effective advertising. In the last year or so, more and more clients are coming to us asking about how insights from behavioural science can help solve their challenges. I think we’re reaching a tipping point of interest in the topic.