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Factual exec: Location data is best way to determine a consumer's real self

NEW YORK - An executive from Factual spoke at the MMA SM2 Innovation Summit 2016 about the importance of combining location data with place data and advised how brands and marketers can take advantage of these two metrics.

Speaking about the various ways brands and marketers have used location data, the executive emphasized that geodata is about more than just coordinates. To truly succeed at geotargeting consumers, location data needs to be married to a smart network of specific places.

?We need to target people the way they naturally move through the world,? said Ocean Fine, vice president of agency and strategic partnerships at Factual. ?It?s the best way to find out who someone is.?

Location vs. place
The session, titled ?Location Data 360: Mobile Programmatic?s Secret Sauce,? focused on the ways that Factual uses more than just the raw data collected from mobile users? locations to help marketers target specific audiences and consumers.

To do this, Ms. Fine emphasized the combination of location data, or lat/long data, with place data. This combination is the key to geotargeting success.

Location data refers to the physical coordinates of the consumer?s current location. This data is useful in telling marketers roughly where the consumer is in the world.

But it is only with place data that location data can be put to work. Factual defines place data as information on the nearby places, whether they are stores, such as coffee shops and retailers, or other public places such as libraries and landmarks.

For example, Ms. Fine explained that if a marketer looked only at location data, they might see a consumer located roughly in between two addresses. Based just on that, it would be a 50/50 chance of which business that consumer was currently in.

However, if the marketer used place data, they might see that one business is a grocery store that closes at 9 p.m. and the other is a bar that is open all night, and the current time is 10:30 p.m., the marketer could reasonably deduce that the consumer is at the bar and not the grocery store.

Ms. Fine gave other examples that place data could help that situation. If both locations were open, but previous place data gathered from that consumer shows them rarely going to the grocery store but going to bars several nights a week, that would remove some of the guesswork that marketers are sometimes forced to make.

This is a powerful tool. As Factual notes, leveraging location data almost always shows a spike in click-through-rate for mobile advertisements.

Local challenges
What makes combining location data and place data difficult is that the business landscape of the United States is constantly changing.

Ms. Fine notes that three new gyms are opened every day in the U.S. However, the average gym lasts only 18 months.

That means that place data can become outdated quickly. If a marketer?s place data shows a location as a gym when it has actually recently become a bar, that marketer could end up showing fitness ads to someone who has no interest in them, rather than offering more relevant ads that lead to more engagement.

Finally, Ms. Fine spoke about audience segmentation, an aspect of Factual?s dataset that lets marketers filter through consumers based on a variety of data points related to the consumer?s location history.

For example, marketers could use historical location data to send ads for a stadium to sports lovers, concert lovers or people who happen to live in the area. All of those groups may not have much else in common, but can be targeted based on their travel history and historical preferences.

Overall, location data provides a real, concrete insight into consumer behavior that is not always apparent from other data points.

?If you targeted me based on my mobile behavior, you would see I look at a recipe app all the time and serve me ads for a grocery store,? Ms. Fine said. ?But if you looked at my location data, you would see I have not been to the grocery store in a month-and-a-half.?