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The Evolution Of Location

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Digital advertising is prized on its measurability, granularity and accuracy. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, we fully believe in the power of the full media mix, where one views traditional and digital advertising as a “yin and yang”, rather than “either or”.

Digital advertising is prized on its measurability, granularity and accuracy. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, we fully believe in the power of the full media mix, where one views traditional and digital advertising as a “yin and yang”, rather than “either or”.


The foundation of any successful digital advertising strategy is reliant on its data, which can be broken down in to two general categories – location data and online data.

Online data tells us about consumer behavior through identifiable interactions online…. What have these consumers searched on Google? What have they purchased? What websites have they visited recently?

Today we’ll be talking a little more about the other category – location data. When talking about location, we view mobile devices as an advertiser’s best friend, as they tend to provide us with the most accurate meta data sets without any personal information being divulged. Every mobile phone carries a device ID which allows us to pinpoint location data in real time, and build trends over a specific attribution window in order to lump groups of device IDs in to targeting audiences for our digital ads.

In order to fully understand location data, it’s important to understand the methods that are commonly used, where the industry came from, and where it is headed.

When location data started being used on digital ad campaigns, the only data sets available were street addresses and land parcels. With that said, targeting typically involved using a store’s address and targeting a radius around it. Savvy advertisers realized that there were inherent problems with this form of targeting.  

One method which solved some of this issue is a radius defined by the center of the business.  And while this is better, advertisers will commonly run in to the issue of covering 3-4 other businesses as well. There are also plentiful amounts of government-issued commercial parcel data sets available to advertisers which are typically used for mapping real-estate and property boundaries.  Even then, parcel data will usually encompass multiple retail businesses at once, especially when working with businesses in close proximity or in retail centers.

Problems arise when any of these data sets are used. One common issue we run in to is someone receiving a monthly report from their agency that shows a very high / overstated number of store visits driven from one of their digital advertising campaigns.

Now let’s look at how we target consumers with accuracy today. By partnering with a global tech / data company, we can confirm where someone is with accuracy through accessing a proprietary Blueprint technology. This technology uses spatial recognition to identify the exact boundaries of a store location. Having access to this industry leading proprietary algorithm isn’t enough alone, however. In order to validate someone’s location, we also utilize the only patent-granted Location Verification technology in the industry.

This is how it works…

In order to determine the accuracy of someone’s location, the algorithms we utilize receive the ad-request from the device and identify the patterns and inaccurate signals such as centroids, randomized latitude/longitude coordinates and areas of disproportionate traffic. These requests are categorized appropriately to ensure they’re not used in campaigns where a highly precise & targeted audience is required. Second, the algorithms cross check the various forms of location data provided in the ad request, and if there is more than one form of location data, the algorithm will determine if all forms of location agree with each other. After completing the crosscheck, the algorithm will select the signal that proves to be the most accurate.  Finally, the technology looks at the precision of the input and categorizes that ad request in one of three buckets: Geo-Precise, Geo-Aware, or National. Lastly, it is important to note that this entire verification process from receiving the ad request, to vetting, scoring the location data and then delivering an ad back to the publisher all occurs within a few milliseconds – allowing advertisers to reach right consumer with content accurately in real time.

The Bottom Line:

If you made it this far, then you A) Might have a headache, and/or B) Might be a little more educated on the evolution of location data and how we use it to build our digital ad campaigns. The digital advertising industry offers a ton of interesting information to learn from, but when your main priority is to run a successful business this type of stuff can get overwhelming quickly. The main takeaway is that you have access to a team of experts here at Bottom Line Marketing that are ready take care of your digital advertising and take your business to the next level!

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