Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Location Data Can Change Search

It feels like it has been the "Year of Mobile" for the past five years, with bloggers just like myself claiming this is the year consumers will shift and advertisers will finally provide users with the experience they are looking for when searching on a mobile device.
The issue is, technology continues to develop at a rate that not all advertisers can keep up with. But in some cases, advertisers need a little help, and the companies we advertise through can help us get there.

How Location Data Can Change Search

We all have mobile devices and we all expect to be served results based on our query when using Google or Bing. But with their goal being to provide us with the best user experience possible, what more can they do for us? We’ve had updates like Hummingbird that help with semantic search; we have had changes to algorithms to finally show us relevant results when we search for queries like "restaurants near me," as shown below.
serp-screenshot
So how can Google and Bing improve this experience even more? By leveraging location data from our mobile devices.
Companies like Pulse IQ, xAd, ThinkNear, and others are all leveraging location data in ways we are mostly not able to combine with search yet. Not only are they targeting users on their mobile devices based on where they are now, but they are also looking at past geographic locations, determining the context of their visit, and making ad placements decisions based on user behavior.
While Google and Bing are not there yet with this functionality, for certain advertisers, being able to understand where a user has been and how long they were there could be extremely powerful data to take advantage of. For example, if you happen to be a large auto manufacturer such as BMW, if you could geo-map all Mercedes-Benz and Lexus dealerships, then serve an BMW ad directly to any user who had visited two locations during one day, you would be serving an ad to someone who is aggressively searching for a luxury automobile. Right now, through the companies mentioned above, traditional mobile ads can be served based on where a user has been.
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