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How Does Mobile Geo-Targeting Work?

How Does Mobile Geo-Targeting Work?


Consumers Hate Geo-Targeting. Marketers Love It!

When I mention geo-targeting, people often ask:

“How do you figure out where a user’s mobile has been to determine geo-targeting?”

In most cases, we use third party data sources that provide this information to our agency. The cost of these third party data services are baked into the mobile advertising buy that you make with us.

Geo-location services are almost entirely obtained by recognizing the GPS on the user’s mobile device. In most cases, geo-location data is obtained by the user when she permits apps to track the GPS device on the phone. Apps can’t assume that the user is granting such permission; users must give permission first. That’s why you see those messages on your mobile phone that ask for such permission.

Let’s talk permission

A mobile phone user gives – or denies – permission, in one of three ways. The permission location responses from the consumer are:

  • always on.
  • never on.
  • sometimes on when the user is actually using the specific app.

When a user grants permission, the mobile antenna inside the phone turns on and tracks the device, giving the phone’s location coordinates to external sources. These sources track device location by:

  • the distance from the cell tower.
  • determining it is on a specific wi-fi connection.
  • being within reach of beacon technology.
  • the GPS within the device itself.
  • hardware within the device.

The ever-increasing wealth of geo-location data that can be utilized for your business can help you in many ways.  It can measure:

  • Purchase Intent — Are they shopping around now for the product you sell?
  • Competitive Visits — Are they visiting your competitors’ stores?
  • In-Store Visits — Have they also visited your store?
  • Online Visits — Are they visiting sites that show they may be entering the Path to Purchase for your product?

Tying data to traffic

Of course, what many marketers ultimately want to know is who was served the message and then came into the store. This technology continues to improve as data providers are able to measure single users across multiple addressable devices. In other words, marketers want to tie the office desktop computer, the tablet, the smartphone and the television viewership to a single user in an attempt to provide an omnichannel approach to its marketing. Then, marketers want to bring all this data together to determine if that user has indeed visited their store or made a purchase either online or in a brick and mortar retail location. Attribution models such as these continue to increase in sophistication and accuracy and the best mobile marketing agencies are diligently attempting to keep up with all of the new developments.

People take their mobile phones with them wherever they go. And, usually when the concept of geo-targeting comes up, they appear to be frightened by the amount of personal data that third party sources have on their activity. Understandably, some consumers see this as an invasion of their privacy, but it is that very data that enables marketers to better target those individuals with offers and advertisements that will be of interest to them.

what’s it all mean for you?

In conclusion, Relevance Raises Response. And, as a marketer, you should be very happy that this data exists, for it enables your promotional messages to have one powerful targeting advantage that traditional media does not enjoy — NO WASTE!

If you want to learn more about how Purplegator used geo-targeting to find and market to truck drivers, you can read this story, or you can simply contact us today on our website. Too excited to wait? Call us at 610-688-6000. We answer our phones.

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