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Questions Marketers and Advertisers Need to Ask Before Buying Location Data

January 13, 2020 by Reveal Mobile

Among the various types of consumer data available to marketers and advertisers, location data holds a unique status. It is the only type of data that connects digital and physical environments, presenting a wide variety of applications and use cases. Its value is evident in its current usage across the marketing and advertising industries.

Nearly 90% of marketers use location data in campaigns.

More than 60% of marketers use location data to drive personalization. Marketers’ investment in location-based advertising is expected to grow 40% over the next two years.Reveal Mobile cleanses billions of data points a day.

All that to say, eMarketer reminds advertisers that leveraging consumers’ location data necessitates a case be made that consumers will get something of value in return.

Reveal Mobile has created this guide to empower buyers of location data and location intelligence software to have valuable conversations with solution providers in the location data space.

More specifically, the questions and answers in this guide are meant to empower advertisers, agencies and marketers to best utilize location data that is privacy-compliant of the highest quality.

Location data has many applications – campaign planning, audience building, targeting, foot traffic attribution, asset/screen utilization, geoconquesting, OOH site selection – the list goes on.

While it’s best to know the use cases you are solving for before engaging with vendors so that your questions can be more focused and purposeful, there is a list of core questions related to audiences, which includes privacy considerations, and places that you should ask any provider you may engage with.

Bear in mind that location data lends itself to new and emerging use cases seemingly every day.

Users are often experimenting with new ways to apply location intelligence so that best practices can be established and value can crystallize.

The following list of questions is not intended to be exhaustive; however, it provides marketers and advertisers with a foundation for making well informed decisions related to location data. In the end, your location data provider should be able to meet a wide range of needs. With demand for location data expected to grow and increased scrutiny from consumers, the market will continue to evolve and mature, resulting in higher quality data and returns for advertisers, and less risk for providers.


AudiencesCustom Audience Building


1. How are you verifying that audiences are opted-in and privacy compliant?

What to look for:

  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) compliance
  • Data source type – GPS data is the most accurate with the greatest scale
  • Adherence to the Network Advertising Initiative Code of Conduct, including most recent certification year
  • Vendor honors location sharing opt-outs on mobile devices
  • Vendor does not buy or sell personally identifiable information (PII)
  • Vendor does not collect location data from devices used by minors


2. Is your device data time stamped?

What to look for:

  • Vendor assigns and provides time stamps for all events captured per device
  • Vendor provides time stamps as part of data feed
  • Advertiser can build audiences for custom time periods and look-back windows


3. What is the scale of your device data?

What to look for:

  • Number of Daily Average Users (DAUs) – this number serves as a baseline for the number of mobile users you’ll be able to build an audience from
  • Events per Device – this number serves as a baseline for the depth of data on each device. The more events per device, the more likely you’ll see each place that device visits. Better accuracy and completeness of location data enables advertisers to target more effectively and efficiently.


4. How up-to-date are your audiences and how often are they refreshed?

What to look for:

  • For audience building and attribution purposes, audience data should be thoroughly refreshed every 24 hours.


PlacesRetail Stores


5. How comprehensive is your place information?

What to look for:

  • Place of interest (POI) databases vary in size. An average U.S. POI database includes less than 10 million places of interest. It’s important to understand what countries are covered in the vendor’s POI. It’s also important to ensure the vendor’s POI database is organized in a way that makes it easy to use.
  • Vendor allows advertisers to quickly and easily create custom places in the POI database. If you’re targeting a well known national chain, then there’s no issue. But what if you need to add a local set of locations that aren’t in the POI database?
  • Vendor allows advertisers to bulk upload custom places to a point-of-interest database. If you’re targeting 1,500 retail locations, you don’t want to have to manually enter each one.
  • Vendor allows advertisers to use their own place data. If you already have the place details for the locations you want location data for, you should be able to use your own set of POI data.


6. How precise is your place information?

What to look for:

  • Vendor’s POI database discerns between large structures, such as shopping malls and airports, and individual retail locations within those structures. For example, the vendor allows you to target Mall of America or the Nordstrom store within the Mall of America. Similarly, the vendor allows you to target O’Hare International Airport or just focus on the Starbucks locations inside O’Hare.
  • The location data the vendor works with should be accurate down the foot. This is sometimes expressed in decimal degrees. Vendor’s location data should process events accurate to 6 decimal degrees. This ensures that devices seen at a specific location were actually at the location, enabling you to get the highest quality audiences and most reliable attribution.


7. How do you verify your place information and compensate for bad addresses?

What to look for:

  • Vendor regularly updates and matches POI database to latitude/longitude coordinates.


8. How do you filter out locations that are not appropriate for my campaign’s needs?

What to look for:

  • Vendor’s solution enables advertisers to build audiences based on individual locations, eliminating all others if desired.



We welcome your feedback on this guide. Please contact us to suggest improvements and additional questions.

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