The Continued March of Location Data

One clearly emerging theme from our mobile local coverage is the collision of Big Data and local. Every week I get in more conversations with startups working to improve location data or mobile device signals to target ads.

Much of those discussions are documented on this blog and my monthly Street Fight column out this week sums up the last few. It’s kind of a highlight reel from just three days of discussions last week that carried this theme.

The growing prominence and frequency of these discussions says a lot about the pace of innovation and some of the specific directions the space is moving. You can read the full column here and an excerpt is below.

There’s perhaps no other sub-sector of local media that’s heating up as fast as location based ad targeting — except maybe mobile payments.

A couple columns back, I covered the collision of big data, mobile and local (please refrain from acronyms… “BiDaLoMo”!). That covered some location analytics players like JiWire and Sense Networks. But since then, the action has picked up. In the last week alone, I’ve had in-depth conversations with others defining this space including Placed, PlaceIQ, and Telenav.

The week started with Placed’s “Panels” announcement. As background, Placed provides tools for app developers to understand what their users are doing offline. That aids product research, market intelligence, or better ad targeting. The newest feature lets publishers take that a step further by forming groups whose location and behavior are tracked pervasively. Think comScore panels for offline; the goal is to pull in all kinds of data about how users bounce around the real world.

By recording those anonymized patterns, publishers can can build user profiles or predictive modeling for all kinds of things, Placed CEO David Shim told me. And pervasive tracking provides a richer mosaic of data than things like check-ins or periodic ad requests: “This lets publishers report to media buyers that their audience is twice as likely to visit Whole Foods than Safeway,” says Shim, “or prefers Macy’s to Nordstrom, or their most frequented bank is Chase.”

Speculating further, campaign effectiveness can be proven out though tracking the number of users that showed up at a store after seeing a given ad. In that way its value is shown throughout ad sales, targeting, analytics and ongoing campaign optimization.

Read the rest.

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