In Advertising, Blog Articles

Each edition of Phunware’s Mobile Stat Snack delivers a compelling, current data point from the mobile industry—and insight into what it might mean for you.

Now that smartphones and tablets are our everyday companions, the volume of data consumers can access has skyrocketed—and so has the volume of location data they leave behind as they use their devices. This data creates the potential for truly personalized, location-targeted mobile ads—but potential doesn’t always equate to reality.

In fact, a MediaPost article released earlier this year estimated that over half (54%) of location-targeted mobile ads were off by more than a half a mile, and plenty of ads miss the mark by much more! For example, one in ten ads is not accurate to within 60 miles of a phone’s location and 18% are only accurate from between 6 and 60 miles.

When location data is inaccurate, it completely undermines hyper-local targeting efforts. Take this example: let’s say you’re a retailer with a few locations, and you sell some rain gear in your stores. It happens to be raining in City A, so you launch some mobile ads promoting rain gear and targeting users in City A. If the location data used to target those ads is inaccurate, you might instead hit users 50 miles away in City B, where it is not raining. The ads would lose all the timely relevance they were intended to have.

Let’s dive deeper into how mobile ad partners determine a user’s location and which ones are the most accurate.

How Location Targeting Works

To get the most accurate location for a user, you need either GPS lat/long information (users who have opted to share their location with an app or site) or Wi-Fi connection data. Many ad networks use alternative ways to register a user’s location, often inaccurately. These include the device’s cell tower data or IP address, which may be miles away from the user’s actual location. Even worse, some companies will “determine” a user’s location from registration data. For example, an app may ask for a zip code upon download, and the company will consider that zip code to be the user’s location. The obvious flaw there is that a user’s home zip code is not a representation of their current location.

At Phunware, we place a premium on location data accuracy, and we have the advantage of being able to access volumes of GPS and Wi-Fi information through our large app portfolio. Our advertisers use this data and more to geo-fence campaigns and even target their audiences based on where users have been or go most frequently. Want more info on audience targeting? Read on to answer the question “Can you really reach your audience anytime, anywhere?

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