3 Tips for Guaranteeing Location Data Accuracy

Data accuracy isn’t a new concept, but as more advertisers are relying on the accuracy of location data specifically, combating lost revenue from inaccurate data is becoming even more important with increased smartphone usage by consumers. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Jamie Crespi, VP marketing, Americas, Blis, explains what brands should know to set the standard in the industry, and demand quality, accurate location data.

Ninety percent of smartphone users in the US use location services on their devices, providing advertisers with rich insights into consumer behaviour. Location data enables brands to get to know and build relationships with their ideal audiences, while they’re lounging at home, browsing in stores, or traveling across national borders.

At its best, location data can enable a luxury clothing brand to entice a wealthy customer just 100 meters away to visit its store. But at its worst, location data can mislead advertisers, causing that high-end retailer to mistakenly target a family of five at the discount grocery store down the street. The difference comes down to location data accuracy.

Today, inaccurate data is causing average revenue losses of 12% at over 88% of companies. How can advertisers avoid the perils of location data inaccuracy and ensure they’re wielding only the most accurate consumer insights?

1. Ensure you understand your consumers

According to Forrester, we live in “the age of the customer”, but if data isn’t accurate, advertisers may be getting the wrong idea about who their customers really are. Let’s say an individual stops by his favourite bakery every morning before work. If that bakery happens to be right next to a gym, inaccurate location data may tell advertisers they’ve found a sporty consumer, rather than a man with a sweet tooth. Brands can’t expect the data they collect and purchase to be 100% accurate to begin with. But they should make sure that data is cleaned up before using and scaling it.

Whether inaccuracy is a result of fraud, technical glitches, corrupted data, or criminal activity, brands and their partners should eliminate anything that seems suspicious. In fact, they can expect to filter out as much as 85% of their data on any given day. Once brands filter out inaccurate location data to ensure it is not skewing campaign results, marketers can then use technology to increase campaign reach by storing the accurate data they’ve collected for future bid requests.

2. Strengthen the data you have by layering with other sources

Misguided campaigns may also erode something more valuable than a brand’s bottom line: its reputation. A misplaced or irrelevant ad as a result of data inaccuracy could annoy or disgruntle consumers. In fact, Digital Connections research indicates that 49% of people will disregard a brand if it bombards them with ads, or if they perceive the advertising to be irrelevant. Surely anyone wouldn’t be pleased to receive an ad for a new pair of running shoes while buying a chocolate croissant. In this way, the integrity of a company’s data will have a direct impact on the integrity of its brand.

Jamie Crespi, VP Marketing, Americas, Blis

But by coupling location data with other rich insights, brands will boost the power and accuracy of their location-based advertising, ensuring that their advertising efforts aren’t spent irritating consumers. However, with all the different data sources available, brands may find it challenging to know which ones to use for particular campaigns. What they need is a platform that has the power to digest different types of data from SDK, beacon, and third-party data. For example, a mid-range clothing retailer may have identified a potential consumer who works near one of its stores. But by pairing that data with the person’s browsing history, a brand will be able to send a more personalized ad, like a discount for a pair of shoes she looked at online.

3. Validate and see the returns come in.

What happens when inaccurate data results in misunderstandings? It could impact a brand’s bottom line. If a sports brand sends the man in the bakery (who doesn’t actually go to the gym or have an interest in running) an ad for a new pair of running shoes, they’ll waste valuable campaign spend. By targeting the wrong customers, brands will suffer from low-performing campaigns and reduced revenues.

What more can they do to make sure they’re efforts are on the mark? They can validate their advertising campaigns by using footfall attribution to measure customer behaviour across any given location before, during, and after a campaign. This provides rich insights and campaign analysis based on consumers’ real-world movements and physical behaviours that go beyond the click. Ultimately, this will give advertisers invaluable insight into the impact of their advertising on footfall, ultimately growing the bottom line and improving their future advertising efforts.


Most of us are no strangers to inaccurate location data, whether we’re looking for a friend at the pin he’s dropped, or describing our whereabouts to a confused Uber driver. But to marketers who rely on high-quality geolocation data to reach consumers, inaccuracy is more than just an inconvenience: it can hurt a brand’s reputation and impact its bottom line. That’s why brands and vendors should never settle for anything less than high-quality, accurate location data. If they follow these three tips, they won’t just benefit from greater ROI and more satisfied customers; they’ll also help raise expectations across the industry, setting higher standards for what brands and their consumers expect in advertising.