Location Sciences Group – Verify


Location-based advertising is a land of opportunity. Brands and agencies are jumping at the chance to reach customers on the move and land their message in a more impactful way.

Yet many are unaware that the location data landscape is plagued by fraud. Campaigns are being run based on inaccurate third-party data, and too many ads are failing to land where they were intended. In fact, up to 80% of location data may be inaccurate.

Brands and their agencies count on the fact that the premium location data they buy to drive media campaign decisions is valid. But right now, they are not getting what they are paying for.

With huge sums of ad spend at risk, brands and their agencies must take steps to beat location ad-fraud. Here’s how:

 1.  Know your location data types

Location data can be divided into two categories. Understanding how they differ is the first step for brands to get under the skin of quality issues. These two types of data are GPS and IP, and your campaign goals will determine which you use. While drilling down to more localised areas will require GPS data, IP data is the most cost-effective solution for city-level targeting.

With GPS data, one of the things to be aware of is the ability for an unscrupulous app publisher to provide a randomly-generated location in place of a real one. With IP data, brands need to manage quality by monitoring the uniqueness of the IP address and the quality of the IP-to-location database being used. Knowing the differences will help brands to know where to look for issues.

2. Make red flags work for you

Secondly, brands must have a clear view of where ads are being served and monitor performance throughout the campaign lifecycle. This will help them to pick up on quality issues, for example mobile users appearing to be at multiple locations a large distance apart within a short space of time. It’s just not possible for a user to be in Brighton one minute and in Glasgow the next. Other red flags might be a location that appears to be in the middle of the Thames, or an app that is sending multiple device IDs from the same location.

3. Strive for better standards

The location data marketplace is unregulated and unmonitored, making the quality and authenticity of location signals impossible to verify. While we already have initiatives, such as the Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards for brand safety, and ads.txt for fraud, the quality of location data is being neglected. Until there’s a recognised industry kitemark, brands need to establish their own standards to make sure budget is spent how and where it is intended. This includes using technology that independently authenticates location.

When location data is accurate, it is immensely powerful. But greater transparency is needed to help brands maximise ad spend. By turning their attention to location data quality, they will be able to ensure their campaigns are optimised and that they are getting the most bang for their buck.


If your organization uses location data, contact us to learn how improved accuracy and quality reduces waste  and produces better marketing results and outcomes.