How businesses can use location data in the cookieless future


It’s no secret that digital advertising is evolving; it has changed forever. Whether due to Apple’s Tracking Transparency (ATT) or Google’s plan to launch its alternative to the third-party cookie within the next two years, change is afoot.


Nowhere in the ad ecosystem has this been felt more significantly than location. Even before ATT and GDPR, location existed as the Marmite of digital currencies; some believed, some championed, and others lambasted it. It’s been oversold and underutilized in equal measure.


The truth is that location has changed for the better as consumers gain more control over their data. Location data can no longer be used as an analytics product to count the number of ABC1’s on the third aisle of Tesco Extra in Milton Keynes. Those days are gone. People don’t give their precise location away that easily, or that often, any longer. But location is still a viable planning currency. It can still be used for measurement, and it can be used to lessen advertising’s impact on the environment, and the key to all of this is aggregated mobile operator data. Because in the new world, location is now context and context is location.


Location is now context and context is location

The future is bright then. It has become a more viable planning currency than ever before. It can still be used for measurement. It can be used to lessen advertising’s impact on the environment. But the key to all of this is aggregated mobile operator data.


Scalable, anonymized, and accurate operator data means that location is set to become the linchpin for the future of digital media. It can show where your audience is, nationwide, and when they’re there. It can be leveraged by any media channel to inform planning, pinpoint buying and measure effects.


So, what’s the difference between location then and location now? It’s all about trends, not individuals, identifying patterns of visitation across audiences temporally; activating campaigns against thousands of postcodes, not hundreds of thousands to deliver relevant rather than seemingly prescient media.


For example, we can still spotlight audiences that are mostly ABC1 men, aged 18 – 24 who regularly go to the gym, or middle-aged women who are likely to be in the market for a new Volvo. But it’s whole postcodes, keeping up with the Joneses rather than thousands of datapoints per user. We don’t need to know what people think, we just need to see behavior at scale and identify the trends.


Operator data even offers campaign measurement, showing what type of people are accessing which apps most and where and when. This may allow you to see the types of audiences are in the vicinity of a store, or that of a competitor. All of this is possible with mobile operator data without counting, tracking, or identifying individual devices.


We know the positive impact that accurate targeting can have on results, we know inaccurate location data means people are reached in the wrong place even if it’s the right time. We know that low-cost untargeted media, at a high volume, means a greater carbon impact, even if the end ROI is similar to more premium and accurate media. So as location evolves it can still inform the who, when and where. And that allows you to be far smarter with your messaging to your audience.


Location is dead? No, long live location.


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