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Nearly 30 Point Location-Accuracy Chasm in Top vs. Bottom Mobile Ad Exchanges

Location-based mobile advertising platform Thinknear released its Q1 2015 Location Score Index. The report finds that location accuracy is basically flat compared with the previous Q4 report.

However ad requests with location data grew to 62% in Q1, driven in part by programmatic media growth. The demand for location is also a function of the industry’s growing recognition not only of better response and engagement rates from location-based ads but of the broader value of location history data for audience segmentation purposes.

A recent BrightRoll (Yahoo) report asserted,”Marketers view location-based ads as the most effective mobile advertising strategy.”

Think Near Q1 Location Score Index
According to the report, location-enabled programmatic media is tracking with the growth of programmatic media in general. In 2012 only 10% of mobile display ads contained location data vs. the 62% cited in the Q1 report.

Thinknear points out, as might be expected, that mobile ad exchanges “are not equal in terms of data quality.” Yet the nearly 30-point chasm between “the top and bottom quartiles of exchanges” is striking.

ThinkNear Location Score Index Q1

Thinknear blames the flattening of location accuracy on two primary phenomena — new apps and mobile web traffic:

A large portion of lower-quality location data is attributable to apps that are new to the programmatic ecosystem. We also noted a marked increase in the volume of mobile web traffic entering the programmatic space (as opposed to mobile app traffic). Mobile web has traditionally had lower quality location data, which appears to be impacting the industry as well.

In the previous report social apps had the highest location accuracy of 32 app categories measured. Those data were not updated in the current report.

app location score

Most location-centric marketing platforms (e.g., xAd, NinthDecimal, ThinkNear, Verve) are scoring or ranking apps and traffic sources in order to optimize campaigns for better and more accurate location traffic sources.

As indicated, location accuracy matters not only because of real-time mobile targeting — location can operate in the real world something like a proxy for purchase intent — but because location has become a versatile tool to define audiences as well as provide offline tracking and attribution. None of this can be done effectively if location is off or inaccurate.

Mobile data companies such as Factual, as well as those mentioned above, are compensating for the risk of poor location quality in various ways, including the app and traffic-source scoring already mentioned. So while the Thinknear report paints a picture of a stagnant market vendors are finding numerous ways to achieve better location accuracy behind the scenes.

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