How location data helps marketers acquire new customers and expand campaigns

Marketers can use location data to find new customer insights and improve ROI.

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Marketers continue to use location-based data to boost campaigns and customer acquisition in retail and other industries. Even though many consumers buy products and services online through ecommerce channels, they also like to get out and visit store sites.

“A lot of money and a lot of time and resources are going into attracting the consumer to come to different retail locations,” said Charm Bianchini, senior director, demand generation and field marketing for location intelligence company Near, at The MarTech Conference

In many cases, meeting customers where they are means understanding how close they could be to a physical store.

“Human movement data can improve your targeting, which then increases your ROI,” said Bianchini.

Dig deeper: Real-world location data analytics tools during the pandemic

Where location data comes from

Location-based data — or human movement data, as the Near people call it — is gathered primarily from mobile apps. 

Popular games like Zynga’s Words with Friends will ask players to consent to share location data under terms that allow that data to be used in campaigns.

For marketers, location data is third-party data that gives insights into traffic patterns in a region, city or neighborhood. Identity resolution tools can also be used to add additional layers of data to the consumers in that traffic.


Interpreting location data for marketing campaigns

Here’s an example of location data taken from two different events, one week apart, at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Near Slide
Image: Near.

It’s apparent from the location-based data and other consumer intelligence that the event on the right was a smaller, local event. The following week, depicted on the left, was larger and attracted visitors from farther away. 

Household income data and consumer preferences can help inform marketers for specific brands

“If you’re a restaurant, for example, you could use this to your advantage,” said Bianchini. “If you’re Red Lobster and you know that people are coming to your location, why not offer some of your loyal customers some sort of discount? Or if you know that everyone’s going to Church’s Chicken, you might want to offer a promotion to come to KFC.”

She added, “This is the power of human movement data and really being able to access real-time information on what’s going on with people.”

Using location data for customer acquisition

Marketers can use digital channels to act on location data. They can connect with loyal customers through digital billboard ads when the data indicates that they are close to a specific site.

Also, if it’s known that a customer was at a store location, marketers can follow up with special offers to bring them back another time, or to buy something if they didn’t purchase a product on their previous visit.

Marketers can also make an attempt to attract customers who visited a competitor.

Enhancing first-party data and expanding campaigns

If your brand already has first-party data in customer profiles, they can be enhanced by location data. The location data for customers at a restaurant, for instance, can provide insights into when they visit and from how far away. This data is then merged with other first-party insights you might have about the customer, including demographics, purchases and other preferences.

Near Slide Persona
Image: Near.

Marketers then make a persona out of these customers to build out a strategy on how to reach them through a given channel, and at a certain time. If they visit on the weekends, they could be sent a mobile ad or email during the weekend about a specific deal that matches their interests.

Knowing more about these location-based patterns will increase efficiency for campaigns and boost ROI, according to Bianchini. By serving relevant, helpful ads, they can also build customer relationships and increase customer lifetime value.

Dig deeper: Yelp’s Custom Location Targeting

Advancing digital marketing with human movement data from Third Door Media on Vimeo.

About the author

Chris Wood
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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