Geolocation: A Matter of When, Not If


Two years ago, if you were a marketer dipping your toe into geolocation, you’d have earned yourself the title “visionary” and probably had a large budget to fund it. But over the last year, geolocation has been the topic du jour at marketing conferences and in industries from tourism and retail to education and gambling.

The bottom line: It’s time to consider adding geolocation data and marketing to your 2022 marketing mix, because it’s now widely affordable, the data and marketing combine to make your marketing program more effective, and early adoption can give you a competitive advantage.

In general, geolocation is GPS data from mobile devices that have opted to provide it. Once you put a geofence around your stores, your destination, your university, your clinics, your credit union, etc., you can collect data and answer questions like: How many people have visited each location? What were their demographics? How long did they stay? Have they come back since? Where did they come from? Where else do they shop/visit? How does this compare to the competition?

In short, you can learn about your customers’ behaviors in depth, non-intrusively and in near real-time. Whereas access to this data used to cost seven figures, it has become affordable as more industry-specific geolocation data (also called geodata) startups have emerged.

And that’s just the data. Now imagine you can use that data to reach individuals based on their previous behaviors, not just demographics. Then you can use the data to see if those people you reached with your messages came to your store, destination, university or venue. It’s next-level audience building and ironclad attribution at the human level. That’s geolocation marketing, also called location-based marketing. And it’s flat-out effective: A report by Factual found that “almost 9 in 10 marketers said location-based advertising and marketing resulted in higher sales, followed by growth in their customer base (86%) and higher customer engagement (84%).”

At JayRay, we’re finding new and creative ways to use geodata technology for our clients. Does the data show that business travelers are visiting a local corporate HQ from branch offices? You can target employees of branch offices with messages about extending their stay with local events, attractions and hotel offers. Want to boost attendance at an event? Identify people who have attended that event previously, or other, similar events, and reach out to them with advertising.

Geolocation data has also supported clients with operations decisions. Say you run a clinic in University Place and your geolocation data shows that the majority of your clients are coming from Gig Harbor – where you also have a location. The data gives you the facts you need to dig deeper and find out why they’re traveling across the bridge instead of going to their closest clinic.

Personalized ads perform better, and marketers want the precision audience building and attribution. As a data-focused marketer the question isn’t whether you should be doing geolocation marketing. It’s when. The sooner, the better.