Location-Based Listening & Analytics
One of the five predictions in my recent 2013 mobile predictions post was that mobile analytics and measurement would get a seat at the “adult table” this year.
In particular, one of the areas in which I am seeing tremendous growth is location-based listening and analytics. As more and more companies adapt a listening strategy — in many cases, using advanced tools like Sysomos and Radian6 (now part of Salesforce.com’s MarketingCloud) — some are starting to look at the possibilities of going deeper.
During a recent interview with colleague and co-author of Digital Marketing Analytics, Chuck Hemann, he explained, “to date, social media monitoring has been helpful to marketers who wanted to understand how customers perceived the brand. As marketing has gone more local, however, knowing how people feel about a brand within a more narrow geography has been critical.”
Chuck’s point isn’t that marketers should abandon social media monitoring in place of location-based monitoring, but rather that the two in combination can be powerful. “Knowing how people feel about the brand in Portland, Oregon, for example, versus the rest of the country allows marketers to be more targeted and flexible with their content development.”
In addition to marketers needing to think beyond traditional social media listening tactics (who ever thought we would call social media listening “traditional”?), it’s also time for Foursquare and other location-based applications to move beyond the baseline metrics like number of check-ins, top locations, etc.
If a brand is going to partner with someone like Foursquare, there need to be meatier metrics like conversions or even the ability to “plug in” to back-end POS systems. Companies like Momentfeed are pushing location-based data providers to think beyond the basics, but we still have a ways to go.
Ways Businesses Can Use Location-Based Listening & Analytics
Many interesting developments have been occurring in the area of location-based analytics. Companies can not only search for what’s happening across the social Web by keyword(s) but can now start drilling down into specific locations, including buildings. Of course, this type of listening only includes publicly available social media updates; but, with the right strategies, these insights can be quite helpful. A few examples of what’s possible with this type of listening:
- Retailers/restaurants can listen over malls or downtown areas for potential customers that are looking for a pair of jeans, a burger or a printing service. If they choose, they can even respond to them with an offer.
- Any marketer launching a new campaign can listen over stores that distribute its product to determine shopper or employee reactions.
- Companies looking to do better customer service or to gauge employee satisfaction can listen over key locations.
- Knowing how people are talking about a specific event can be very useful when monitoring activity during an event. This technology tells you who is talking, where specifically they are talking, and what their potential reach could be. If you are monitoring that activity, you can then read and respond in real time to further boost the attention that your event may be receiving.
As Chuck and I noted earlier, both traditional social media and location-based listening/analytics are powerful in and of themselves, but engaging in both simultaneously should give marketers insights well beyond what they are currently seeing. Evaluating what conversations are happening regionally versus in the broader market can help isolate problems or opportunities that would normally go unnoticed. It’s this type of vision that will give smart companies a competitive edge in the future.
What The Future Holds In Store
As we continue to use smartphones and tablets more frequently to update our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare and YouTube accounts, these localized data streams will become richer and richer. Obviously, the companies tapping into these rich new sources of information must be prudent with how they use this data — particularly if they plan to interact with potential customers. But, just like with e-mail, companies have figured out how to derive value without invading peoples’ privacy.
In the future, things will get interesting when location-based data can be connected to customer relationship management (CRM) and point of sale (POS) data. We’re not that far off from this model, as evidenced by the recent announcement by Facebook that it is partnering with Axciom and Epsilon to connect the dots between user profiles and in store purchases. We will see more and more of these types of partnerships in the near future.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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