Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why should marketers aim to integrate real-world advertising into their digital toolkit?

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By Niral Naik, EU Client Services Director, AudienceQ

Location data is universally applicable. Whether it’s retail brands, government, energy & utilities, healthcare, travel & transportation, telecommunication or others – location-based intelligence can play a critical role in optimising and enhancing experiences.

The increased adoption and therefore accelerated growth of location-enabled apps and smart devices in recent years, has resulted in a wealth of data being made available for analysis & utilisation.

The volume of location based data is set for continued and rapid growth with the value of location-based services projected to reach £134.11 billion by 2027, representing an increase of 26.3% from 2020 to 2027, according to recent research from Fortune Business Insights.

Take a moment to consider the amount of apps you have downloaded to your phone that request permission to access your location – these are likely to include shopping, social, health & fitness, games, content streaming, weather as well as your traditional navigational & travel apps. It’s therefore safe to say, most aspects of a person’s everyday life are woven into their smartphone or IoT device.

Location-based marketing therefore allows for an informed approach to consumer engagement by contextualising people and their real-world habits. By incorporating location, marketers can inherently understand real-time device usage through real-world mobility – thereby creating tailored, relevant ad experiences with the benefits of precision, optimisation and effectiveness.

On a broader scale and beyond all the things it can do for marketers – location data has proven to be an extremely powerful tool in understanding regional behaviour, economic trends and the impact of public policy. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant countless maps being shown in the media to measure the continued outbreaks of the virus across the UK as well as internationally. Location data has proven essential in monitoring the spread, evaluating and implementing varied restrictions across different parts of our country, as a ‘one-size fits all’ approach has not been considered the correct strategy.

Why is all of this important to understand? – well, as we gear up to exit a third (and hopefully final) national lockdown – we, as a nation, will start to increase our social engagement once again & with that, our general patterns of movement will change. From a commercial standpoint, brands will be preparing themselves for recovery and growth.

However, it’s important to note that the reduction of government restrictions are expected to be slow and steady.

COVID-19 has drastically changed our lives as consumers. We’ve established new localised patterns and routines for example supporting local businesses, creating larger basket values (versus frequent/on-the-go shopping) or ordering online. These habits may become permanent for some of us. That’s not to say, we won’t revert to type and pick up our old habits – we absolutely will, but it’s about analysing and understanding the combination of the two, that will see marketers effectively re-engage with us as consumers.

2021 will be about leaning on those historical behaviours and learning from them as these patterns will prove essential to successfully reaching consumers again in the post-COVID world we gradually approach. Past actions, in the form of rich location data, will help inform marketers how to activate customers once again – for example, our audience identification solution at AudienceQ is able to measure, visualise and activate key audience groups based on where they’ve shopped, whether they are parents, how they socialise, who they bank with amongst a range of other criteria. Marketers will need to leverage this type of rich data analysis towards driving store-by-store performance and/or online conversion once again.

Speaking to many friends and clients, one of the common arguments I’ve heard with integrating location data, is the intrusion on a person’s digital privacy, to achieve highly targeted advertising. There is understandable concern about individual being tracked in the real-world as well as their online journeys. However, advertising is based on value exchange. With trust and transparency at the forefront of this transaction, there are mutually beneficial uses to a hyperlocal approach.

Furthermore, smartphones and Apps continue to play an enormous role in our lives. Global smartphone device ownership stood at 3.5billion unique users in 2020, according to Statista, While, there were over 107 billion app downloads between Jan – Sept 2020.

We wait and watch to see how the advertising industry evolves to the upcoming changes around the suppression of Apple’s IDFA and with it, the introduction of strict opt-in processes. The argument for me, is far more about improving the consent structure to inform consumers consistently and clearly as to how the personal factors they’re sharing will be utilised by brands and app publishers, in return for access to their favourite content.

For these reasons, I strongly believe, user opt-in rates will remain high as users are now more digitally savvy than ever. Location– I think – as a signal within the updated consent processes, will be seen as a data point which users are agreeable to sharing, for both their safety within our recovery from COVID and for contextual relevant experiences.

Rules of engagement and our everyday behaviours may be changing but as a collective, we’ll adapt to these differences that come in a post-COVID and post-mobile identifier world.