Location-based marketing is a powerful strategy for brands, allowing them to reach consumers with localised and contextually relevant messages. Brands are also investing huge sums of money to run effective campaigns. In fact, marketers will spend an incredible $70 billion on mobile location-targeted advertising in 2019, according to eMarketer.  

It stands within reason that brands wanting to drive real-world footfall will invest big money to reach consumers close to their stores. After all, adverts delivered outside of their point of interest will not have the desired impact 

However, getting this right depends on the accuracy and quality of the location signals being used. Brands put their money into hyper-local advertising campaigns in good faith. But the reality is that not all suppliers use highquality location signals when running campaigns.  

In fact, our own research shows that nearly two-thirds of ad spend is being wasted on poor-quality and mistargeted location data. Of every £100K spent on targeted location advertising, £23.7K worth of impressions are delivered outside of the targeted area. A further £29.4K is wasted due to insufficient quality location signals. 

Striving for supplier excellence 

Some location data suppliers are doing an outstanding job, with 40% of suppliers showing nearly 100% accuracy in location and 35% near 100% accuracy in signal quality. These data suppliers are helping brands get the most out of location advertising, so they can save money and get a better return-on-investment. 

However, there is still a large percentage of suppliers who are significantly underperforming. On average29% of impressions miss the target specified by the client, and 36% of impressions are not of the quality needed to deliver to the specific targeting area required for location campaigns.  

With the leaders showing that it can be done accurately, and that it is technically possible to target specific points of interest, a high number of missed impressions must be a result of negligence. This could include inattention to the campaign, incorrect campaign set-up, or turning off targeting to hit numbers.  

Turning towards transparency 

The reality of supplier delivery can be different from the promise, but the data shows that transparency is key to improving performance. We compared location accuracy and signal quality before and after transparency and optimization measures were put in placeFrom this, we discovered a 10% increase in accurate impressions, and a 40% increase in location marketing performance. 

So, for location to be used effectively in digital advertising, brands should ensure that they understand exactly what they have purchased and how it is being deployed. This will help them to save wasted ad spend on poor quality and mistargeted location impressions. Ultimately, driving significant improvements in accuracy and campaign performance.  

Mark Slade

Mark Slade


CEO, Location Sciences.