IAB Looks to Demystify Location Data for Publishers

Hey, Publishers, Want to Sell Your Data?

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Anna Bager, senior VP and GM of mobile & video, IAB
Anna Bager, senior VP and GM of mobile & video, IAB Credit: Courtesy IAB

As the publishing and marketing industries grapple with how to best monetize on mobile, there are a lot of variables that could affect how well they do. A major point of interest in mobile is location data, and there's a host of variables that can determine how good your data actually is, and whether it's good enough to sell to third parties.

Last fall, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released guidelines for local ad buying, an effort to shed light on the local digital ad market and platforms that specialize in local media. Today the IAB, along with its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, released the IAB Mobile Location Data Guide for Publishers.

"Location data has extraordinary value for both publishers and advertisers," said Anna Bager, senior VP and general manager of mobile & video at IAB, in an email. "Location-targeted mobile ad spend is expected to grow from $8.4 billion in 2015 to $11.3 billion in 2016. "Our publisher members expressed a need for a guide that outlines not only why location data is important from an incremental revenue perspective, but how to actually leverage it in practice to enhance their advertising products and increase the value of their inventory."

Ms. Bager said that though the intricacies of location data can be difficult to initially understand, there are some "low-hanging fruits" that publishers should be familiar with, including gaining a better understanding of mobile audiences -- which can be used to deliver more relevant content experiences to consumers, enhancing their mobile inventory either through their own first-party data or through third-party location data providers, and providing online-to-offline sales attribution insights to advertisers to show how ad campaigns affected foot traffic to physical stores. (Online-to-offline sales attribution has been a huge concern for marketers and an area that Google, among other companies, has been working hard to refine.)

IAB also goes into detail about the growing opportunity for publishers to license their location data to third parties to increase their revenues. Of course, along with that comes some issues like whether publishers have the permission to sell user data, what kind of revenue model the publisher wants to establish (there are four) and how the data actually gets transmitted to aggregators.

Other aspects of geodata that publishers, according to the IAB report, need to be well versed in when collecting data, whether it be to sell to third parties or to use internally, include recency, as in how much time has passed since the data was recorded; accuracy, or how close mobile users' reported locations were to their actual real-time locations when they saw an ad; and precision -- how specifically data can pinpoint mobile users' actual locations.

"Geo-targeting has been around for a while in online display advertising, but methods for using the more precise geolocation data available on mobile devices (leveraging data the consumer has agreed to disclose) are still fairly new," said Ms. Bager. "While some publishers have invested in building out location-data capabilities, others lack the expertise or awareness of how to assemble these capabilities through data and technology partnerships. The new guide for publishers offers practical advice on how publishers can get started as well as how they can expand and refine their existing capabilities."

Go here to see the full report.

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