In plain English: What is geolocation data? And why is it so important in a world without cookies?

By: Will Green, senior content strategist, MiQ

A blog series explaining some of the concepts, processes and technologies we need to do our jobs – in plain English.

In our recent Future, Faster podcast, we spoke to Jan Kestle, CEO, Enrivonics Analytics, about the importance of geolocation data in programmatic advertising – particularly in the cookie-free world that we’ll all soon be living in. 

Listen to the podcast for the full-fat, in-depth conversation about how advertisers should be thinking about geo-location data and how they should be building it into their plans. 

But if you’re in the market for quick answers, we’ve got you covered:

What is geo-location data?

As the name suggests, geo-location data is data based on where people are. It either comes from where they live, and is based on things like zip/postal codes and census data, or where they are at any given moment based on mobile data. 

Sounds like it could be a bit creepy – is it?

The opposite is true. Rather than the one-to-one hyper personalization of some forms of consumer data, geo-location data is always viewed in aggregate. That means it’s anonymous data and an individual person’s data is never gathered in any form. This is why it’s going to be so important when advertisers can no longer use cookies. 

Doesn’t that mean it’s too broad for targeting?

That depends. For some brands, particularly those who have a low risk threshold for potentially misusing data, geo-location data will be enough to run campaigns that are also very, very safe. 

For most brands though, geo-location data on its own won’t be enough and it’s better to think of it more like a data layer for enhancing performance and improving efficiency. 

So, how would I use it?

There are all sorts of use cases for geo-location data, but as an example, imagine you’re running a campaign in a city. You know your target audience is young families with disposable income. 

By adding a layer of geo-location data, you can remove postcodes associated with, for example, high-density student populations or elderly care homes, before your campaign even starts so you’re not wasting budget on unlikely audiences. 

Going further, and connecting another layer of mobile data, you can start to build a picture of how your target audience commutes, which retail areas they visit, what restaurants they visit and so on, building a richer picture of your audience at the same time as reaching them more effectively. 

How can I find out more?

In our ebook series Crisis? What crisis? we examine the new range of data and targeting solutions available to marketers in the new cookieless era, and show you how they all fit together.

Or, if you want to start talking about how you can use geo-location data in your campaigns today, please get in touch