This is a guest contribution by Amy Fox, Head of Product at Blis. To help navigate the constantly evolving landscape of the location and proximity industry, our friends at Blis dig into the pros and cons of the leading data sources on the market.
One of the biggest challenges marketers face as they embark on advanced location-based advertising is understanding location data sources. What every marketer hopes to achieve in when leveraging location data is accuracy, but it’s not always easy. Not all location data is created equally, and some sources are more accurate than others.
With so many different data sources available, it can be hard to know which is the best to use in any given campaign – and to know if one or many should be used. To simplify things a bit, here’s a brief description of each of the three most-used data sources, along with the pros and cons of each:
An SDK is essentially a piece of code that sits inside an app. The developer who’s built the app includes code that tells the app to collect location data constantly and consistently. Apps like Facebook and Apple’s “Find My Friends” are great examples of apps that use and SDK track your location 24/7. Note that these apps must have express user permission to collect location information.
This latitude/longitude (lat/long) data comes mostly from ads running on installed mobile apps. While it could potentially come from other publisher placements, it’s more likely to come from apps for this simple reason: publishers must obtain express permission to use location data. On apps, permission to use location data only needs to be granted once, and that permission is often good for the entire lifecycle of the app. However, on any mobile site, permission for location data must be given every time the user starts a new browser session. This can lead to an unpleasant user experience, and many publishers aren’t willing to risk that, so they simply don’t request that information unless there’s a specific reason – for example, if the site offers local traffic or weather reports.
This data is collected with actual hardware, similar to Wi-Fi hotspots, or to the Bluetooth boxes that were installed a decade ago to beam offers to nearby shoppers. While less scalable than other data sources, they are still quite exciting. Beacons work with SDKs within apps, and deliver incredibly accurate location data.
There’s really no bad way to choose data. As we’ve illustrated, each source has its benefits and its challenges, but they all work together well to paint a picture of your audience. The best course is not to put all your money on one horse: use all three, and use as many sources as possible – but be prepared to check the accuracy of any and all the data you choose.
Amy is Head of Product at Blis and is responsible for high level product strategy and development alongside the release of new revenue streams and products into the market.