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Four Critical Questions to Ask About Location Data

location-dataThe realm of location data quality is a little messy-- many digital marketing agencies today fail to provide their clients with factual, reliable data when it comes to location-based digital marketing. It can be difficult to know who to trust and who to turn away as you begin looking for partnerships. That's why we've rounded up a quick list of questions you must ask any agency you're looking to partner with (or may already be partnered with!).

Four Critical Questions You Should Be Asking About Location Data

Are You Using Location Targeting or Geo-Fencing?   

Location targeting and geo-fencing are not one and the same. The two terms are often used interchangeably in the digital marketing community, but they actually have two very different definitions. Understanding the differences between the two will prepare you to make an informed decision about which is best for your situation.

Geo-fencing refers to the process of drawing virtual barriers around physical locations. Using web users' IP addresses, businesses can target ads based on their audience's location. These advertisements can be delivered via any device or channel-- computers, tablets, and mobile devices are all fair game for geo-fencing. 

Location targeting is a means of delivering advertisements to people who both meet certain targeting criteria and are within a defined physical radius. It's a more effective way to target advertisements than geo-fencing alone. Because audiences can be targeted based on consumer criteria like demographics or behavior, it's easier to deliver curated content to them at the right time. 

The ideal agency will leverage location targeting in order to maximize the relevance and potential of your marketing efforts. Geo-fencing alone fails to account for consumer preferences and behaviors. Savvy marketers know that knowledge is power. Processes that rely on knowledge are more reliable than those that don't. 

What Reporting Do You Receive and Where Does it Come From? 

The variety of reporting your agency receives (and where it comes from) will have huge impacts in the way you market online. If your agency's sole means of reporting comes directly from their own internal structures, it may be time to think twice about maintaining the partnership. 

It's all too easy for the companies and agencies who sell you your data to skew it in their favor. Whether that means boosting numbers to keep you confident in their services or dropping them to encourage you to spend more money, you risk being strung along if you stick all your eggs into one basket. 

Your agency should use third-party measurement to grade the effectiveness of their location-based advertising. Agencies regularly outsource and rely on third-party tools for things like performance and viewability-- this should be no exception. 

How Do You Verify Your Data? 

Your agency should select their verification partner (or partners) with as much discretion as you used to select them for their services. Ask how they vet partners and what steps they take to ensure that the feedback they're receiving is legitimate. 

Shoddy explanations here should send up red flags. You should be as confident in your agency's ability to commit to due diligence as you are in your own. Ask for data sources and look over the reporting yourself thoroughly. Your agency's answer to this question should indicate that they're taking every step possible to prove out their success. 

Will You Show Me the Reporting?

If your agency won't show you any actual reporting, it's time to look elsewhere. It's good policy to ensure that you see important information with your own eyes, rather than relying on blind faith. If your agency can't provide location data sources or outright refuses to show you report results, will you ever really be able to trust their work?

It can be tough work to whittle away at the seemingly endless pool of digital agencies, but failing to do so could wind up costing you a lot more than time. Asking these four simple questions will illuminate your agency's values and help you understand whether they're actually acting as your partner or they've got vested interests elsewhere. 

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Topics: Location Data, Data

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