Advice for Marketers, Not Consumers, on the Present and Future States of Location Data Technology

January 14, 2016

The article on Mashable titled Location Data’s Dirty Secret: How Accuracy is Getting Lost in Today’s Data Shuffle relates the bad news for marketers, and hugely relieving news for paranoid consumers, that location data quality is far from precise. The money being funneled into location-targeted mobile ad revenues is only part of the picture, but it does illustrate the potential power of this technology for marketers, who want to know everything they can about shopping habits and habits in general. But they may be spending on useless data. In fact, the article states,

“Studies indicate that more than half of mobile location data is inaccurate. In fact, a report from the MMA offers a laundry list of variables that negatively impact location data quality. Culprits include a “lack of accuracy standards and market education,” “urban density,” “inaccurate interpretations” of location data that have been translated into a latitude/longitude coordinate and poor “data freshness.”

The article is largely optimistic that if marketers do a little research into the source of their locating data, they will know whether it can be trusted or not. That, and an objective third party will help marketers avoid big money-wasting mistakes. Must be nice to be a marketer instead of a consumer, the latter has little chance to avoid being a pawn followed around the chess board by her cell phone.


Chelsea Kerwin, January 14, 2016

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