The world’s more than one billion smartphones produce a lot of location data, which has marketers seeing dollar signs — but only if they can learn how to use that information. New research from Professor Miklos Sarvary may be the key to unlocking the selling power of location data.
Until now, the main technique for deploying ads using location data was geo-fencing — the idea that smartphone users should receive an ad for ice cream cones when they walk by an ice cream parlor. Geo-fencing works fine in locations like shopping malls where people already intend to buy something and may be more inclined toward impulse purchases. Where geo-fencing fails is in selling big-ticket items like cars.
“Buying a car is not an impulse thing,” Sarvary says. “The question is, is it possible to use location data for marketing in ways other than geo-fencing?”