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September 5, 2017

The Myth of Location Based Targeting

Written By Pammy Alexander

Location based targeting has been a hot topic in the world of technology for over a year. It has sparked interest by promising that gathering the right location data will be the newest and most effective way of converting potential users into actual customers.

But is the technology really there and how many of the LBS predictions are nothing but myths?

How does LBS work?

LBS works to help target potential, or returning consumers by tracking their location and proximity to the goods you can offers them. For example, sending your customers a friendly message as they approach your store which reminds them “you wanted to buy the new Air Max, now is your chance!”.

Or “Kate and Lauren are heading to your favourite bar for drinks tonight. Here is a discount coupon for your favourite cocktail!”.

Roller is no stranger to location-based services. A recent project with Exco consisted of developing a fully fledged social network called Target. Using Google maps SDK, users will be able to find specialist clinics based on their location.

The marketing opportunities with LBS, or Location Based Services seem limitless. But is the fuss around location-targeting overrated?

Dispelling the location myth

The success of LBS lies within knowing the location of potential customers, not just a set of devices. The data must be translated into meaningful metrics and adapted to best aid the brand performing the targeting. This is a challenge that even the most well sponsored campaigns are going to face.

The second difficulty awaiting LBS is calculating dwell time, and asking how long a user actually spends in a specific location. With this scenario in mind, it appears that brands have been promised a service which is not yet technologically attainable.

Thirdly, when faced with the idealised vision of the perfect location-targeting campaign, brands need to remember that location by itself is not sufficient to build an audience. Since location does not necessarily entail conversion, brands must work harder to formulate the strategy that works best for them. There is a science behind the process which is yet to be configured.

So what can location offer us?

Targeting people by a number of factors and not just location alone might help refine the data and transform it into something useful.

Timberland’s recent campaign separated users by two distinct factors: a proximity to their stores and lifestyle. It used data about recent store visits and the user’s location in relation to a Timberland store.

The campaign concluded with an increase in store visits of 6%, which is evidence of how location-based targeting can increase in-store footfall. The user journey was thoroughly considered as audiences were directed by interactive ads and rich media to a landing page with relevant messaging.

The biggest takeaway from Timberland is that before a brand deploys a location-based ad campaign, it is crucial to identify the audience which is most likely to be influenced. Perhaps Timberland owes its success to its well-established brand and vast knowledge of its customer base.

Our Conclusion? 

A future where Location Based Targeting is seamlessly integrated into our marketing strategy is easily imaginable, but we have a long way to go from a technological and analytical standpoint.

Brands have to configure the most relevant messaging to their users, which means that they must have in-depth knowledge prior to location-based targeting. The more relevant the message, the more likely the user will be to be influenced.  

Perhaps the real potential of Location Based Targeting technology is yet to be defined and there is no limit to how far it can be developed, but it will be fascinating to see which brands do it well.

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