YP brings search and location data together in “audience cartography”
The dominant use of location data in mobile display advertising has ironically become more about "who" than "where."
Local search provider YP has introduced a new location data offering it calls “Audience Cartography.” While designed for mobile display (mostly in-app) advertising, the company incorporates local search intent data into the mix of signals it uses for audience targeting.
Here’s how YP describes the new offering:
[A] proprietary methodology powering our Enhanced Mobile Targeting display solution for national brands, using first party search intent and mobile location data to develop unique insights on both target audiences and their actions. These insights make it possible for marketers to refine their targeting efforts across multiple media channels in real-time, leading to more effective mobile marketing campaigns and greater online-to-offline conversions.
Location history (and search) data are combined for audience identification and segmentation. It also enables offline attribution based on a control and exposed methodology. At a high level, it resembles other solutions in the market, some of which I previously identified in a post yesterday about a partnership between Cuebiq and Ubimo.
Cuebiq and Ubimo said they had introduced the first real-time offline conversion analysis tool, enabling in-flight campaign/creative optimization. However, others make similar claims, including YP, with this offering.
On the challenging topic of differentiation, YP’s Bill Maslyn said that the combination of online and offline data, including first-party search data, for targeting was unique. The company also points to the way it packages the information for advertisers:
- Interactive click maps: “allow businesses to zoom in on specific areas close to a store location to show where and how people are interacting with a campaign.”
- Customer store location heat maps: “visualize the location and characteristics of any given audience as a means of expanding targeting opportunities and increasing overall campaign relevancy.”
- Store visit reports: “calculate total visits to individual stores, helping to more clearly identify campaign effectiveness and account for online-to-offline attribution.”
- Halo reports: “help businesses understand the residual effects of their digital marketing campaigns.”
Among many issues tied to the announcement, Maslyn and I discussed the strategic and tactical differences between real-time geotargeting vs. audience identification using location for subsequent targeting or “retargeting.” He offered that real-time location targeting was generally not as effective as using location to define audiences based on offline behavior and affinities. “It’s about who, not where,” said Maslyn.
Of course, real-time geotargeting and audience targeting are not mutually exclusive and can be combined.
Maslyn added that YP can build lookalike audiences based on audience segments created or established using location and search signals. We also spoke at some length about the accuracy of location data being captured (This is an area of some controversy and contention among providers.) Maslyn told me that YP filters out “roughly 70 percent” of location data signals it collects or sees daily, which are of dubious quality. Other companies make similar statements.
A final and very interesting area of discussion was the use of this type of targeting for awareness compared with direct response advertising. Maslyn said that most of the advertisers he works with, using location data, tend to be focused on direct response (e.g., offers to drive store visits), whereas in general, in mobile display the split is more like 50-50 between direct response and awareness.