Last year, Lawless Research and Factual found 87% of marketers were using location data or targeting in their marketing campaigns. A new follow-up survey showed comparable usage but also improved results, including increased sales (89%) customer growth (86%) and higher customer engagement (84%).
The 2019 survey consisted of 700 U.S. based mobile marketers drawn from a B2B survey panel and included 536 consumer brands and 164 agencies.
Have you experienced the following benefits from using location-based marketing and/or advertising?
Only 24% doing offline attribution. More than 9 in 10 surveyed marketers plan to use location data in the future. However, strangely, only 24% are using or plan to use it for store visitation or offline measurement. According to the report, “The primary use of location data is for targeting (67%) and 52% use location data for audience engagement, campaign strategy and customer experience or personalization.”
It’s mysterious why more aren’t using offline attribution, but the report and the survey don’t explore that question. And if 89% are seeing increased sales from use of location, how is that being tracked? (Possibly by matching first party transaction data with ad exposures.) However, these 700 marketers are not all driving e-commerce transactions.
How do you currently use (or plan to use) location data in your campaigns?
Source: Lawless Research/Factual (2019)
Mobile is the main channel currently seeing use of location data (81%). However the survey found that marketers plan to use it in other channels: advanced TV (49%), digital out-of-home (47%), smart speakers (45%) and automotive (28%), which is not itself a channel. More than an exact representation of where it will be deployed, these findings indicate the market sees location as a versatile tool for use in many contexts.
Site traffic still top KPI. Another very interesting finding concerns measurement. Most of these marketers are using traffic to their websites as the principal measure of campaign effectiveness. I would see this as a general statement about all campaigns and not just those involving location data.
With the exception of “purchases or sales,” “sales lift,” “attribution modeling” and “in-store visits,” these are either brand metrics or “proxy metrics” and not tangible business outcomes. This would seem to reflect a general lack of measurement sophistication, given the available tools.
Which of the following do you use to measure digital advertising effectiveness?
Quality and accuracy are the top considerations for these marketers in working with location data partners. On this point marketers are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly interested (62%) in looking behind the curtain to understand how the data is being collected.
Why we should care. This report shows the mainstreaming of location as a horizontal tool for audience segmentation and targeting across channels and categories. However, there’s still a long way to go, it appears, when it comes to measurement. The low location-attribution figure (24%) is very surprising and somewhat inconsistent with anecdotal conversations I’ve had with other data providers and platforms.
Another issue not fully discussed in the report, privacy compliance, will be increasingly important when using location data. CCPA, which takes effect next year, could significantly impact the ability of marketers to use third party location data in their campaigns.