Location Sciences Group – Verify

Location Data and transparency have become the most important elements of recovery planning

by Mark Slade, CEO

The pandemic will have a radical impact on consumer behaviours for months to come, with one of the biggest changes being more people staying local.

The first reason for this is highly practical. As safeguarding measures continue, many will remain reluctant to get back on public transport, and others will choose to work from home far more regularly.

Beyond this, consumers are acutely aware of the pressures on the economy, making them more inclined to spend their cash with local businesses. In fact, three quarters of consumers plan to support local merchants as widely as possible once restrictions on non-essential businesses are lifted, according to research by Groupon.

A dramatic change in behaviours demands a big response from marketers. So, what do they need to do to drive performance and cut waste in a local environment?

Steps to marketing success

It’s time for marketers to forget everything they knew about consumer movements and look much closer to home. Those with physical stores need to review their local catchment areas and tune into the sentiment of their closest customers. Then it’s a case of applying these findings and putting them to work against marketing spend.

Understanding micro behaviours will be critical to more successful local marketing. This can be managed through the use of GPS location data, which helps to understand consumer movements in a consented and transparent manner. It enables marketers to tailor the message, with dynamic creative based on location critical to success.

The pandemic has also prompted a growing trend in click-and-collect. Contactless pick-up and delivery services are shifting the way brands compete for business, according to the IAB, making geo-location a number one priority. So, marketers must continue to look slightly further afield and analyse popular travel routes. They need to know where people are coming from to visit their stores, and why.

In both scenarios (physical stores and click-and-collect), live footfall data from GPS will help marketers test local advertising and local creative strategies. This provides the ability to get quick feedback to optimise.

Why transparency is key

There is no point embarking on behavioural analysis to inform location-based advertising if the data and media supply used to execute the campaign is not accurate. And, unfortunately, digital programmatic advertising still has a long way to go to clean up its act. If data or supply is not fully transparent you can bet the good is blended with the bad.

Much like viewability, the quality of the data has a big impact on the success of the campaign. The data which marketers use to build their location audiences for targeting needs to be top quality. Otherwise brands end up paying for an advert that is not seen by their potential consumer. Importantly, location data and targeting is one of the more expensive ways to advertise – there is little point paying this premium if it doesn’t reach that intended local audience. Getting this right is critical to driving efficiency and performance.

As marketers ramp back up, the temptation may be to shy away from more transparency to keep notional media costs down. As a recent report by the ISBA shows, there is still significant wastage and “missing dollars’ in programmatic. With budgets stretched to their maximums, it’s imperative brands ensure transparency in their data and media supply. Location is no different to viewability – without the correct checks, advertisers cannot be sure their ads are being viewed by their intended customers

How to classify data quality

The images below show how location data varies significantly in terms of accuracy and signal strength. All three of these images show GPS event data used to target previous visitors to Lowes department store. However, very  different accuracy and signal strength can be seen across the examples.

Once companies have transparency into the significant differences of event data, they can make a more educated decision on the quality levels they want to buy against, given their scale objectives. Much like brand safety and other quality controls in the industry, these insights provide brands, agencies, and suppliers the best opportunity to balance quality, price, and scale to meet their suitability needs.


Given the seismic change in consumer behaviours, and as mentioned in a recent IAB Reentry Report, local marketing planning and execution will be critical to marketing success.

Marketing budgets are tighter than ever. It is even more important that marketers have full visibility over where their money is going. Location data has quickly become the new ground zero for data quality control and fraud protection.

Transparency will make sure budgets drive the best possible results, helping marketers to manage scale against their KPIs, and ensure critical brand safety within local marketing.