Location Sciences Group – Verify

With more eyes on Mobile and OTT, location offers marketers a solution to stay in front of consumers

As our industry evolves through this period of uncertainty, marketers navigating the storm are suddenly huddled around one question: without the ability to drive footfall, how do I stay in front of historical consumers? Their solution must consider a handful of behavioral changes, industry trends, and recent privacy legislation.

With the majority of digital media consumed on smartphones, mobile OTT streaming continues to increase sizably. Netflix reported to shareholders in late January that in Q4 2019, average streaming paid memberships grew 21% year over year while streaming APRU rose 12% year over year. This brings Netflix’s viewership to more than 167 million paying members globally. Disney+ was released in five countries in November, surpassing 20 million subscribers by the end of 2019. Disney+ debuts in most of Western Europe at the end of this month, with projections to reach 60-90 million worldwide subscribers by 2024. 

With a rapidly growing number of people currently confined to their homes, we have to assume users will increase their daily screen time in OTT apps / platforms. Majority of live events where linear TV draws a big audience this time of year have been postponed or cancelled, further accelerating consumer behavior to favor OTT. 

This shift means marketers need to position themselves to reach these customers now, and more importantly, with the appropriate messaging. Not only is it the largest digital audience currently available, it’s also quickly becoming the most reliable place to reach consumers as out of home and linear tv face major downturns in the coming weeks. So how do advertisers solve for the complex challenge of scaling OTT audience attribution? Location data. 

Location is the common identifier across streaming services, GPS for mobile and IP address for OTT. With the anticipated disappearance of third-party cookies, location is also one of the few consistent identifiers marketers can choose from. We know recent privacy regulations and mobile operating system updates have shortened the availability of mobile GPS. As more users flock to OTT, marketers will see an increase in the amount of IP informing their audience attribution and media delivery.

As brands adjust their product & service offering to reach digital consumers at home, it is imperative they reach the relevant customers in the right place. Since you can’t rely on shoppers in-store, you need to know where your media is being delivered. We analyzed the POI health of every US campaign we audited in 2019 and discovered that 25% of impressions on US campaigns missed the target zipcode by an average of 12.5 miles. 

Imagine a food delivery service sending ads to customers in neighborhoods they don’t deliver to. If marketers don’t have visibility into the accuracy of their location data, they risk damage to both their brand perception and customer experience. Now is the time brands have to be tactical about how and where to reach their customers but with a proactive and sensitive message. 

In summary, the current state of affairs has accelerated industry challenges many marketers need a solution for right now. As more users consume digital content through OTT services, advertisers need a way to scale this audience without violating user consent. With third party cookies disappearing, location data is one of the only consistent identifiers that informs these OTT audiences. The last couple weeks have created an urgent need for transparency at all levels. Marketers need to move with confidence to inform their customers where they are and how they will be a resource. Third party verification is one of the only ways of knowing if that message gets delivered or not.