- AccuWeather partnered with local search app Foursquare to develop location-based audience segments that advertisers can reach based on where smartphone users travel, according to a blog post. AccuWeather, which has 20 million users of its weather information app, is integrating its MinuteCast service with Foursquare's technology to connect advertisers with consumers in a hyper-local context.
- The partnership marks the first time that Foursquare is offering its Pilgrim technology to create audience segments for another platform's user base. The Pilgrim technology powers Foursquare's Pinpoint service that reaches more than 150 million mobile devices outside of its apps across the United States.
- The combination also means that advertisers can reach AccuWeather users based on their behaviors, even as their identities remain anonymous. Examples highlighted by the blog post include a fast-food chain promoting healthy foods to people who visit gyms, hiking trails or organic shops, or a car brand promoting a family-oriented vehicle to people who go to baby stores, schools and toy stores.
AccuWeather's partnership with Foursquare is another sign of the growing importance of mobile location data in marketing. In this case, AccuWeather is using location history to build a profile of users based on where they have traveled over a period of time. The goal is to help advertisers deliver relevant ads to people based on their behaviors in the real world. Mobile location data is also often used to pinpoint a user's whereabouts at a specific moment, for example by enabling a fast food chain to deliver a coupon when someone is outside a competitor's location.
In general, location tracking can be controversial. Search giant Google this month was at the center of a controversy after the Associated Press reported that it tracks the movements of smartphone users even when they adjust their mobile privacy settings to turn off these features. Google updated its website to clarify how it monitors mobile users, and was later sued for allegedly misrepresenting its tracking features. While many consumers may not be comfortable with the idea that their activities are being tracked, Foursquare aims to allay those concerns by anonymizing the data to protect the individual identities of mobile users.
Location-based data gives a strong boost to the effectiveness of ad campaigns, per a June study by data firm Factual. Marketers surveyed said location data produced growth in their customer base (85%), higher response rates (83%), and higher customer engagement (83%). It also gave marketers deeper knowledge of their customers' needs and interests (77%), improved ROI for their marketing and ad campaigns (74%) and increased lift (70%). Marketers using location-based data for personalization saw a wide range of benefits, such as better understanding of audiences (91%), positive customer experience (87%), more effective campaigns (84%) and more accurate targeting (62%).
The partnership with Foursquare follows efforts by AccuWeather to expand beyond smartphones by integrating its information with voice-enabled digital assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Its voice-powered app responds to natural-language questions like "Do I need an umbrella?" or "When will the snow stop?" and serves up personalized recommendations based on the forecast, per a press release.