New mobile location data guidelines may guide improved industry decision-making

Mobile-Marketing

Location-based ad targeting and measurement has been given a set of new guidelines. Produced by the Media Ratings Council (MRC) together with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the latest guidebook examines the reach of geo-data for mobile adverts.

With the world rapidly shifting towards a mobile-first approach, it’s important that advertisers and publishers can effectively address such a shift and measure their campaigns more effectively.

Over the time span of three years, the trade groups have been busy refining a set of best practices for location targeting and beacon usage for mobile adverts. This is the final document of recommendations following a draft version in November 2016.

It outlines a range of location-based measurement definitions as well as recommended practices. George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO at MRC confirms that the Location Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines are meant “to serve as a guide in the collection and reporting of location-based data.”

Ivie also notes that geolocation data which is “collected in a consistent and transparent manner can greatly add to the richness and utility of the measurements on which digital advertising is bought and sold, and, as such, the release of these Guidelines represents another step in fulfilling the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) mission of producing standards designed to enhance the state of digital advertising measurement.”

Indeed, location targeting plays a vital role in many mobile advertisers’ strategies. However, in unifying industry best practices, the latest guidelines should be essential to guide enhanced understanding. Ultimately, this will benefit both consumers and marketers.

The release of the document comes at a time when US Congress has decided to overturn previous FCC rules which will enable cable providers to collect and sell consumer data to compete more effectively with online data giants such as Google. The move will undoubtedly add to consumer privacy fears and could spark a backlash with audiences restricting data access themselves.

The group hopes that the new guidelines will be able to stem some of that fear by guiding advertisers to adopt practices which ultimately are of greater benefit to consumers.

Among some of the recommendations contained in the report, advertisers are advised to validate their ad or bid request data in order to ensure greater accuracy. In addition, the document advises marketers to analyse bid stream data more carefully and be wary of fraudulent location data.

Interestingly, impressions are counted when they meet a certain pixel x time threshold at 50% of ad pixels visible for 1-2 seconds.

Sheryl Daija, Chief Strategy Officer, MMA, says:

“The Location Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines reinforce the MMA’s ongoing commitment to providing brand marketers with transparency and confidence in selecting mobile marketing partners. Specifically, these guidelines provide marketers with further clarity on what they should expect from their location data providers, how to align metrics to their marketing objectives and better leverage mobile’s unique ability to drive business impact.”

At a time when retailers and brands have been calling on the industry to provide greater transparency, these new guidelines offer a glimmer of hope towards a more unified approach in adopting best practices and ultimately more universal ways to measure advertising impact.