I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to downloading mobile applications. Usually, I would just shut off the location-tracking feature, but there have even been moments where I have deleted the application. So, what am I doing when I refuse to disclose my location information?

All I am doing is not feeding my geolocation to these companies, making it more challenging to market to me.

Location-based marketing may seem alien (scary?) to many people who are not aware of today’s marketing technology. However, I assure you, most applications are just trying to use your geolocation to improve the quality of personalized advertisements.

The potential for this technology is enormous. Let us assess some likely use cases to see how location-based marketing is shifting ways companies engage with mobile users.

1. Location Identification:

Nowadays, most businesses are interested to know where you are responding to their advertisements. Whether at home, at work, or on the move; this is vital information for any marketing campaign. The more details stored in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, the more efficiently companies can tailor their mobile advertisements.

Let’s imagine your employer has given you a list of customers from a few different regions/cities. They then ask you to run a promotion mobile advertisement to that customer list. How could you identify where each customer resides? Well, there are two principal methods you could explore.

First, you can approximate someone’s location using their Wi-Fi signal. Companies can find a user’s signal by triangulating their position between two Wi-Fi towers. So, the next time a customer logs on your website using their Wi-Fi, a trigger could be sent off to track that signal by identifying which Wi-Fi towers have been engaged. With that information, you can approximate, within a certain radius, the customer’s region or city.

The second method uses the phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates to identify the user’s geolocation. GPS signals provide highly accurate positioning capabilities across the globe. So, if the tracking is active, companies can usually pinpoint the exact location of any user.

With this method, companies can target different groups of users within an area by running programmatic display campaigns. These areas are defined using geolocation targeting and are reinforced by confirmed GPS coordinates. An advertising company can then engage with its prospects and customers across these locations of choice. Be it public events, trade shows, Starbucks, auto dealership; you name it, all these places become likely targets.

After assessing both methods, take the time to align your business and customer acquisition objective with campaign targeting parameters. However, of course, your volume of clients is the key to success here. Targeting just a small amount of locations will not yield enough result. Advertising companies need to identify dozens and dozens of target areas for a campaign like this to work efficiently.

2. IP Resolving:

The main idea here gravitates around managing IP data and resolving it with geolocation based data. This use case could potentially help narrow in on incoming website traffic by identifying the geolocation or the even the address of those IPs that passed through your platform.

Keep in mind, something of this nature would require high levels of traffic to develop individual segments. It would not be sufficient to target a point just because you found one IP in your analytics. However, if you do acquire enough data, you can target these high cluster areas with mobile ads and promotional content.

3. Event Marketing:

Event oriented targeting is a much more straightforward tactic, but extremely effective in engaging people with mobile advertisements. If you use the techniques detailed above, you will be able to target attendees using the event-related promotional material.

This marketing strategy is a very common practice seen at large public events. Most conferences even develop their own application to guide participants through the proceedings and stay up-to-date with relevant information.

These apps are great portals for collecting both geolocation and behavioral data on the participants. It is also an efficient platform for displaying advertisements, as it generates high amounts of traffic during that period.

What’s Next?

Location-based marketing is still a growing concept in the marketing world. However, companies or applications that use features like “track my location” don’t always get the best success. Why? Primarily because it is a feature, not a requirement.

Fascinatingly, companies can expect higher success when users passively engage with geolocation. Situations when using social media is a great example. Tagging a picture or uploading a video on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook tend to provide a more real-time location. This passive behavior also tends to be more voluntary, where users feel more comfortable sharing certain bits of information with their network as opposed sharing with an unknown application.

So instead of being as skeptical as I was, understand that location is just another criterion in a company CRM. Location-based marketing is a big step closer to understanding audiences, collecting data, and engaging with personalized direct marketing.