The Dirty Truth of GPS-Generated Location

The following is a guest contribution by Rip Gerber, Founder, President & CEO of Locaid.

It’s no secret that ad impressions with any location data will demand a premium over average CPMs for mobile ads.  This premium is often two to five times over non-location-tagged impressions.  Small wonder that some (not all) mobile ad exchange platforms are goosing the quantity and quality of “location-based” impressions.  Here are three things you will never hear from your mobile ad platform sales representative.

“Only 10% of our mobile ad inventory has true location data attached to it.”   Check the numbers, only a few of the mobile ad platforms have volumes of location-based impressions to offer.  Many new companies are arriving on the scene this year, pitching you their wares.  Shop around and compare. Where, JiWire, Verve Wireless and xAd are just a few of the players bulking up on location data for mobile ads.

“We made up the lat-long data because we know you’ll pay us more for it.”  Getting a “GPS location” doesn’t mean you are getting a lat-long.  Most location-based ad impressions sold today are not true GPS coordinates, but workarounds attempting to approximate location.  You think you’re getting a customer’s exact location?  You’re not.  More likely you are getting an approximate location – called a “centroid” – based on a customer’s metro area, zip code or carrier IP address.  So next time your mobile ad agency rep pitches their high-cost LBS capabilities, dig into the data a bit more to better understand “true” versus “approximate” location-based ads.  Some mobile ad platforms take great liberties to invent a lat-long when in fact they don’t really know where a customer may be, because lat-long can bring a nice lift to impressions on the mobile ad exchanges.  Just because they say lat-long doesn’t mean they are getting a real-time lat-long.

“Geofencing isn’t as important as we say it is.”  Geofencing is no longer the dominant paradigm in location-based mobile marketing.  Location now is integral to any customer touch-point.  Knowing where your customers are when they call into your call center, or log onto your website is just as important as knowing when they walk by your store.

There are many mobile ad platform exchanges that are open and honest about their location-tagged data and impressions.  But it is a new technology in an exploding market, so keep your eyes open when opening up your mobile ad spend wallet.  Some marketers simply don’t care.  But if you want to maximize the ROI on your marketing spend, you should understand the differences in the accuracy and quality of the location data you are buying.  By asking the right questions of your mobile marketing partners, your mobile campaigns will deliver the results you expect.


About The Author:

Rip Gerber (@Locaid) is the founder of “Location-as-a-Service” (LaaS) and has built Locaid into world’s largest location company. He has served as the CMO of two public companies and as a senior executive at two of the largest worldwide interactive agencies. He started his marketing career running card acquisition direct mail programs for American Express. Rip holds several patents and is the only mobile CEO to be certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).