Geolocation Advertising: A Guide to Geolocation Data for Marketers
Geolocation advertising is really coming into its own as a way to reach your target customers. With the rise in the number of mobile phone and smartphone users, there’s never been a better time to use this location-based technology. This guide will explain what geolocation is and how you collect geolocation data. You will learn about different types of geolocation advertising solutions, and the benefits of geolocation advertising. To round it out, the guide will share some geolocation advertising use cases for advertisers, publishers and marketers.
What is Geolocation?
In simple terms, geolocation refers to the geographical location of a device connected to the Internet. This is anything from a laptop or smartphone, to a smart speaker or a fitness tracker. Geolocation advertising and geolocation mobile marketing use this location data to serve up relevant advertising and marketing campaigns or promotions to audiences based on where they are.
Geolocation technology works in several ways, collecting location information both actively and passively.
For example, some geolocation platforms can collect real-time geolocation data based on connection to GPS and cellular networks. When people have location enabled on their smartphones or other connected devices, the geolocation software can estimate your location in relation to those networks. The more of those networks there are in a given area, the more accurate the general location will be. That’s why it’s often easier to pinpoint device locations in well-connected urban areas than in sparsely connected rural ones.
Geolocation data is also collected passively via IP addresses. These are usually linked to physical locations in databases. For example, internet service providers will know their customers’ IP addresses and their general location. Depending on where the data comes from and how frequently it’s updated, the geolocation data stored in databases may not be totally accurate. However, these databases are useful for advertisers serving up promotions based on the nearest country or city.
Cross-referencing both types of geolocation data – GPS and IP addresses – can result in more accurate pinpointing of location information.
As you’ve seen, geolocation is determined by both active and passive location collection methods.
IP geolocation databases are one of the major tools in passive geolocation data collection. Geolocation databases store the latitude and longitude of particular IP addresses. That’s not quite the same as an actual physical address but it’s the closest access point at which that IP address is connecting.
There are both free and paid geolocation IP databases. These databases collect geolocation data through a combination of Information supplied by users and data mining. In general, free IP address databases are updated less frequently. Paid IP address databases are updated more frequently and so are more likely to be accurate.
It’s worth noting that geolocation information from IP address databases is broadly accurate, but not necessarily precise. For example, within the US, IP address data is 90% accurate at the country level. So promotions targeting the country as a whole can safely use IP addresses. The information gets slightly less accurate when marketers hone in to the state and city level. And accuracy is sometimes minimal outside big cities. For example, geolocation data might point to the center of the nearest big city rather than a more precise location.
Improving Accuracy With Geolocation Software
You can also use geolocation software like GroundTruth to get more accurate geolocation data. GroundTruth looks after three key areas to make sure you can rely on the location data it provides. These are:
- Location determination, which verifies the accuracy of mobile location signals. GroundTruth will remove centroids (locations which correspond to the center of an area but aren’t actually accurate), fraudulent traffic, randomized latitudes and longitudes, and inaccurate carrier IP or outlier signals
- Place determination, which relies on accurate place mapping. GroundTruth uses its Blueprint technology to ensure that places are mapped accurately and reliably, using property mapping and polygon mapping
- Visit determination, which ensures that only real visits are being tracked. To do this, GroundTruth looks at signals such as store hours, employee status, dwell time, speed, and horizontal accuracy.
This cross-checking ensures that marketers using GroundTruth for geolocation ads can absolutely rely on the source data provided. Learn more about GroundTruth’s approach to sourcing and verifying geolocation data.
Geolocation Solutions and Methods
There are several types of geolocation advertising solutions that you can use. These include geotargeting, geofencing, events targeting, and audience targeting.
Geotargeting uses location data to show messages to consumers based on their behavior and their assumed location. For example, a clothing store might want to show promotions for its next sale to the people who are living in that area. Geotargeting advertising is even more specific, relying on location data from smartphones and apps to show ads based on their users’ specific location.
For example, Toyota used geotargeting to pinpoint people who lived near key dealerships and were interested in shopping for a new car. The car maker’s campaign led to 1,200 visits to targeted dealerships, as well as visits to other nearby dealerships.
Another form of geolocation technology is geofencing.This allows advertisers to target consumers based on their real-time location in relation to an identified area or geofence. This is a virtual location. For example, a clothing store might geofence a 10 mile radius around its premises and use this to serve ads to people who appear within that area.
One particularly effective form of geofencing for marketers and advertisers is geoconquesting. This practice allows advertisers to define a geofence around a competitor location and then try to attract that competitors’ customers to their own location. For example, Ulta Beauty targeted a campaign at potential customers near their competitors stores. As a result, the company reached its visitation targets for new stores within the geofence 43% faster than for other stores.
Event targeting uses location technology to reach consumers who are attending a particular event with geolocation advertising. By using geolocation data, advertisers can show event promotions to attendees. For example, they can tell music event attendees that there’s a special session going on that they’ll likely be interested in. Plus, marketers can remarket to that audience after the event to let them know about similar events or related promotions. This also works well for charitable campaigns like Movember, which saw campaign engagement 50% above the expected benchmark.
Audience targeting lets advertisers reach specific audiences based not just on location, but also on demographics, interests and behavior. That can help marketers create tailored audiences and segments to make promotions even more effective. Comporium used audience targeting to attract repeat customers for a supermarket client. The results: 70 repeat shoppers a week and a 9x return on ad spend.
Benefits of Geolocation Advertising
Both desktop and mobile geolocation advertising offer several benefits. These include:
- Hyper-targeted audiences – being able to get specific about the audiences that you target with your promotions
- Improved customer loyalty – attracting more repeat customers because you have successfully made your promotions relevant to them
- Reaching new customers – finding new customers based on behavior patterns and location even if they already belong to competitors
In addition, GroundTruth’s geolocation advertising campaigns are results driven. Advertisers pay only for the results they achieve.
Geolocation Advertising Use Cases
Geolocation advertising is a powerful tool for publishers, marketers and advertisers. Here are some of the key ways they can use it.
Publishers who are using apps can monetize their data via GroundTruth’s privacy-compliant, ad-free solution. They can also learn more about their users by figuring out their in-app behavior, and even what they’re doing when they’re not using the app.
Publishers can also get notifications when target users are close to a brand location, and send appropriate notifications to drive the kind of behavior that meets campaign goals. In addition, publishers can monetize ads and earn additional revenue for their content.
Marketers and advertisers can use GroundTruth location data to get consumer insights, drive visits and sales, and increase brand awareness. The geolocation data makes it easy to reach the target audience based on where they’ve been and where they are. And weather information is also available to help marketers and advertisers target promotions even more.
Some examples of successful geolocation advertising include:
- PureDriven used hyper-local, mobile-first advertising to attract visitors to Plato’s Closet stores in the Midwest. The campaign resulted in an increase in foot traffic, with 276 visits across five stores.
- PetSmart combined geolocation advertising with audience targeting to attract in-store visits from people likely to adopt pets. The campaign resulted in 110,000 visits and a 12% increase in pet adoptions.
- Headcount used geolocation data to target new and young voters ahead of US midterms and get them to participate. The campaign reached 315,000 mobile users and drove more than 6,000 clicks to the voter registration page.
Geolocation advertising is an excellent way to improve the effectiveness of marketing and advertising campaigns, especially among mobile device users. Get in touch with GroundTruth to see how you can incorporate geolocation data into your next campaign.