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In today’s digital world, our smartphones know more about us than our friends and family. They know the numbers in our bank account, our ongoing health concerns, and the people we talk to. Our smartphones also track the places we go, which opens up tremendous possibilities for advertisers. Location data can not only provide businesses with key insights into customer preferences and behaviors, but also enables them to deliver ads in the most impactful (i.e. relevant) moment.

However, despite its exciting promise, location-based mobile advertising has struggled to reach its full potential. A yawning gap persists between the possibilities of this ad format and its execution — a gap buttressed by a slew of common misconceptions that prevent the sector from moving forward.

Let’s take a look at the 6 top myths about location-based mobile advertising, and the realities behind them.

Myth: When Ad Vendors say: “Our location data is 4 (or 5 or 6) decimal points of accuracy”

REALITY: To be truly valuable, location data needs to be accurate. Accuracy reflects the degree to which you can target the right person with the right message, and in an effort to sell their product, ad vendors like to boast that their location data offers 4 or more decimal points of accuracy.

However, the reality is that all the players in the space are working with the exact same data (albeit with widely varying degrees of precision). Moreover, 3 decimal places or greater is generally considered PII(Personally Identifiable Information) by the IAB. The challenge, and thus the differentiator, comes in when a vendor a) cleans and normalizes the data and b) makes accurate use of different data sets to strengthen it.


Learn more about location accuracy and precision