Location Intelligence; The High & Lows for Consumers & Businesses

Hypertargeting consumers has never been more real. With the thriving rate of business growth and profit as a result of real-time marketing, businesses now more than ever are keen to tap into consumers – literally – via their Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS signal, IP address and apps.

As when a smartphone user visits a shop, communication messages are being broadcast to them via transmission devices such as beacons, facial recognition cameras and smart lighting. Creepy? Yes. Invasive of a consumer’s privacy rights? It’s arguable.

Technically, there are occasions where consumers are ‘giving consent’ – when connecting to WiFi or enabling cookies – however, there is an ambiguity surrounding what consumers are giving businesses permissions to. With obfuscate guidelines in place, many consumers are unknowingly permitting to sharing their location and personal details via third parties.

What’s the 411?

Apps and businesses are exchanging data; paying to swap user information to develop their audience databases in order to make their targeted marketing campaigns more concise.

And it’s difficult to combat for users too. Users may decline cookies or disallow marketing offers, however, unbeknownst to them, the company which they’re refusing access, may have already been given their tracking consent via a third party source.

What are the pros to location intelligence for businesses and consumers?

Customers are happy to offer their data for high-value exchange. Receiving fewer spam ads, suitable pop-ups and discount codes is good, but obtaining real-time results that are suited to a user’s location is even better.

Relative search returns such as nearby restaurant recommendations, highly-rated local hotels and closely situated transport stations have mobile users willingly parting with their data in no time.

And despite brands actively passing around consumers’ information, statistical motherships such as Facebook and Google have confirmed that they only hold onto consumer details for as long as necessary, destroying information that isn’t important. This offers peace-of-mind for consumers, as it means that an abundant of their personal information isn’t readily available to hackers from one single destination.

For businesses, being able to target consumers who reside in a relevant location and who fit a certain demographic, means they’re able to showcase their products to potential buyers. Additionally, companies are able to converse with returning consumers personally; remarketing to users who’ve engaged previously with their brand via Wi-Fi, or IP address. In 2015, “Orlando Magic increased sales by $1 million” from employing a combination of beacons, Wi-Fi and NFC technologies.

Through having concise customer information and purchase behaviour insights, businesses are able to construct a definitive target audience that works, ensuring minimum cost wastage on marketing spend and maximum conversion rates.

Google has found that “Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores within one day” suggesting how relevant ads to the right consumers can effectively drive custom in stores.

Having access to a shopper’s route is powerful for businesses. As businesses can identify the competitive brands which consumers are responsive to. This enables businesses to offer alternative or akin products, similar to those the consumer has displayed interest in.

Moreover, by having an awareness of consumers’ hobbies and interactions, businesses can adapt their services by distributing reactive marketing prompts. These can be triggered for when a consumer visits a specific location.

For some, location intelligence isn’t a way of extracting personal information for profit, but being used as a cutting-edge tool to advocate revolutionary, environmental change. Research labs are addressing climate change using GPS technology and engineers in New York are preserving water and cutting costs from mapping underground structures.

Cons

Location intelligence has its drawbacks for both business and consumer; provoking invalid results, hackers, invasive advertising and the collapse of independent start-ups.

Rotating IP addresses – which alter every 30 days – can make it difficult for marketers to target a location for an extended period of time. By result, ads can be misdelivered and sent out to random locations. This can affect the accuracy and validity of marketing campaigns for businesses, incurring inaccurate results and financial losses.

Location intelligence can also be restricted which means that businesses aren’t able to effectively target everyone. GPS coordinates can sometimes go off the radar as signals can deflect and go undetectable when indoors. Additionally, signals can be disabled by consumers via app settings and through turning off WiFi services when in-store.

Lastly, location intelligence ensures that large amounts of personal consumer data is circulating in cyberspace. This is a threatening prospect for consumers, when hacking incidents – such as identity theft – are occurring more and more frequently.

Over the next three years, “77% of firms believe location data will be important, critical or extremely critical to their business, compared to 50% now.” Cited as the most up and coming marketing strategy, we question, is it sustainable?

Location intelligence has been proven successful when used efficiently by marketers and businesses, boosting sales, incurring growth and generating traffic. However does such an ‘invasive’ approach impose too much of a risk on consumers? Comment below with your thoughts.

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