Report: Accuracy of location data declining as more publishers offer it
Location data accuracy varies dramatically by publisher and exchange.
Location data is a treasure trove of information and it can do a lot of heavy lifting for marketers. A growing number of ad platforms and data companies are using location for audience segmentation and targeting as well as offline attribution and campaign optimization.
Those capabilities, however, assume accurate location data. For example, there may be significant differences between the shopper profiles of store X (e.g., Gap) and store Y (e.g., Sephora); and understanding whether someone is on a car dealer lot or across the street at a McDonalds matters for audience profiling and attribution.
A new report from local-mobile ad platform Thinknear finds that the accuracy location data used in mobile advertising and attribution across the industry is the lowest it has been since the firm started tracking it in 2014.
Overall Thinknear gave the industry a location score of 45, which was down from 50 in Q1. The company said that 32 percent of real-time location data passed by publishers and exchanges was accurate to within 100 meters. That means 68 percent was not. Other levels of desired location accuracy in the report varied but were generally poor. For example, only 7 percent of data targeting a distance between 100 and 1,000 meters was accurate.
Location makes ad impressions more valuable and so more publishers are passing location, regardless of whether they actually know where someone is. Very often that data is inaccurate, especially mobile web data, which typically relies on IP-based location. However, Thinknear explains that there is a great deal of high-quality location data available but it varies dramatically by publisher and exchange.
In working with a location-based marketing platforms, advertisers and brands need to understand how the provider ensures accuracy and filters out bad location data. All location impressions are not created equal — as this report indicates.