Biz Tips: How Location Will Save Marketers in a Post-GDPR World

Biz Tips: How Location Will Save Marketers in a Post-GDPR World

Biz Tip:

How Location Will Save Marketers in a Post-GDPR World

On April 9th, 2018, 87 million Facebook users around the world were informed that their personal information had been shared with Cambridge Analytica in what would become the social media giant’s largest data breach.

While Facebook discovered the information had been harvested back in 2015, they failed to notify users at the time and didn’t come clean until Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie made an announcement that would change the course of data-driven marketing:

“We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

Cambridge Analytica worked alongside Donald Trump’s election team and paid Facebook users to take a quiz on an app called This is Your Digital Life.

So, what’s the harm? You might be wondering.

Well, while the users agreed to take the personality test and have their own data collected, the app went one step further and harvested information from users’ Facebook friends. Which, goes without saying, is a huge violation of privacy and just downright illegal.

This data breach would go on to spark a series of ratifications to the GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union. And, as a result, Facebook has decided to cut third-party vendors left and right in hopes of having a better chance at righting the ship.

While this event alone was enough to cause data-driven marketers to run screaming for the hills, shortly after yet another unfortunate piece of ugly news surfaced. Five years ago Facebook gave device makers like Apple, Blackberry and Microsoft deep access to data on both users and friends –– even friends who specifically opted out of their data being accessed by 3rd parties.

The bottom line? While Facebook is under a lot of heat, it is marketers who will be forced to absorb the brunt of the burn as vendors continue to be booted off the platform in droves. So, what will marketers do next?

Enter location intelligence


With new restrictions on using personal data for marketing and targeting, marketers will now be forced to look for new ways to get in front of their target customers –– and, for many, this meant replacing personal targeting data with proxy data.

In other words, marketers lost a lot of insights into the demographics and lifestyles they could target online, but they are still able to achieve the same result by looking at location. If a marketer can no longer target those in the upper-income quartile, their next best move is to target the neighborhoods or locations with the highest income values, data which can be legally sourced through census-type reports. Likewise, if a company wants to target consumers who visit certain websites, they may run into some GDPR hurdles; however, they can still use location and mobile data to target people who visit physical sites.

This is what those in the industry refer to as location intelligence, or using location as a means of better understanding, segmenting, and communicating with markets and consumers.

And it’s catching on: Location drove $17.1 billion in ad spend in 2017, and this figure is expected to double by 2022.

That’s a massive number and might spark a bit of skepticism. But, when you look at the success big brands have with location-based marketing, it’s no surprise they are doubling down.

Taco Bell reported substantially boosting store sales with location-based mobile targeting –– driving more than 170,000 visits across their 7,000 restaurants nationwide with a two-week long mobile marketing campaign that raised money for a scholarship program called Liv Mas.

Was it successful? Well, they ended up donating $500,000 to the Live Mas scholarship fund, so you tell us.

Besides raising a ton of money for kids to go to school, Taco Bell experimented with location marketing over the course of 2017 and found an 8% increase in late night customer visits on weekends.

Marketers saved by the bell with location intelligence

Location intelligence is valuable because it provides a lens through which marketers can better understand their customers on a macro scale. No, marketers can’t creepily target specific prospects on an individual level, but they can use location as a way of evaluating the same data on a generalized scale.

Not to ring the bell too many times here, but to give a real-world example, when Taco Bell was promoting their Live Mas Scholarship, they were able to not only target men between the ages of 18-24 with personalized mobile ads but also measure the lift in store visits among those that saw the ad.

This is the power that location intelligence provides. It gives marketers the opportunity to blast marketing messages at their target market when they are in a convenient place to actually purchase their product or service.

Let’s unpack this because it’s one of the biggest benefits of using location intelligence.

As a marketer, why would you spend money on marketing to a customer if he or she is not in a convenient spot to buy?

Yes, you can blast a commercial of a taco while they’re sitting on their couch, but why not send them a personalized message when they’re at the bars at 2 in the morning and hungry after a night of drinking?

Taco Bell Late Night Advertising

Taco Bell’s “Fourth Meal” campaign speaks directly to those looking for a late night snack.

Now, you’re not in the taco business, but this strategy can apply to any brand.

For example, what if you’re a vegan fast food chain? We know what you’re thinking –– yes there is such thing as vegan fast food chains. Anyways if you’re a vegan fast food chain, you can target women between the ages of 18-24 who frequent other vegan restaurants and grocers in your immediate area.

And, being that location intelligence can be 90% accurate, you can quickly learn where your customers go before they eat at your vegan fast food joint… and where they go after.

What if you could find out that 90% of your customers at your vegan fast food chain were women between the ages of 18-24, who made $50,000+ a year and participated in yoga, spin classes, and CrossFit? With location intelligence, you can.

Location intelligence is quickly becoming the golden child in a post-GDPR world where marketers can no longer use personal data to target the individual. And, honestly, this is a good thing.

It makes marketing both a science and art, and it’s separating the bad marketers from the great. And let’s face it, customers are getting fed up with being stalked on social media.

Are you not tired of seeing a pair of Calvin Klein Jeans pop up on your feed after having just had a conversation about Calvin Klein Jeans with your friend? No, this isn’t a coincidence.

Location Intelligence is a refreshing, morally sound and highly effective alternative to the no-longer-usable personal data. In many ways, it will allow for both privacy and transparency while acting as an exceptional tool for talented marketers to reach their target market at the right place and time.

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