Precision vs. Proximity: What is Your Perfect Location-Based Audience for Ads?

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Before the digital age, advertisers generally had to use a one-size-fits-all approach in their advertising efforts. This means reaching a wide audience who may not all be interested in the product or service being advertised. Ads placed on traditional media channels, such as radio, print, or television, could appear in a certain area or shown to a general audience, but it was much more challenging to precisely target ideal customers, resulting in a high level of uncertainty for advertisers and the inability to accurately attribute conversions.

However, advertising processes are much more sophisticated today, and location-based advertising can be a radically effective tool for businesses. This type of advertising enables businesses to make more strategic and targeted ad placements. So, how can a business find their perfect location-based audience for advertising?

Location and Ads

Unacast processes, cleanses, and contextualizes location data every day to understand where people go and what they do in the real world. One of the most popular uses for this data is ad targeting. Companies of all kinds can use a location-based audience to reach consumers characterized by the places they visit in the physical world.

But, not every location-based audience is the same. In fact, they can be very different, and they can deliver varying results for advertisers. Broadly, these audiences fall into two categories:

1. Proximity Audiences

Proximity audiences include consumers who have been observed in the area around locations of interest. The size of the area and audience composition depends on your data provider.

2. Precision Audiences

Precision audiences capture only those consumers who’ve visited a specific place or event of interest. Only those devices observed within the exact area will be included in the advertising audience.

So, which audience should you choose – proximity or precision?

It depends. The right audience to use will depend on the goal of your marketing campaign. Here are a few tips to help you determine which type to use when:

Precision: If you’re advertising a specialized product or service, conducting a conquesting campaign, or aiming to connect with existing customers to build loyalty, you’ll want to use an audience with higher precision.

Proximity: Proximity-based audiences work well for brand awareness campaigns and mass market products and services.

By utilizing these location-based audiences, advertisers can reach potential customers at the right place and right time. In doing so, advertisers can deliver personalized messages and offers that are relevant to their audience. The benefits of location-based advertising, and the continuous shifts in consumer behavior caused by the pandemic, are evolving. This means it is increasingly important for businesses and advertisers to understand these location-based advertising audiences.

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Location-Based Audiences: What Should Companies Be Considering Next?

With the slow decline of traditional targeting techniques, shifts in privacy expectations, and a cookieless future, digital advertisers are innovating to continue serving their ideal audiences. This has led to a relatively new strategy that many companies are utilizing today is to reach consumers through internet protocol (IP) address advertising.

An IP address identifier makes it possible for advertisers to reach consumers through internet-connected TVs, computers, mobile phones, and other wifi-enabled devices. This type of location-based audience targeting is hyper-personalized, potentially decreasing ad spend. IP audiences may also convert more successfully, driving up a company’s return on investment (ROI). As IP audience advertising evolves, will this type of advertising gain even more prominence in 2023? Although IP address marketing grows more complex, this type of location-based advertising has the potential to bring a new level of success to advertisers.


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