Data Management

3 challenges of location data and 3 solutions to overcome them

What do we mean when we talk about “Location Data?”

Location data refers to information that identifies the geographic position of a particular business, person, or device. This data can include latitude and longitude coordinates, street addresses, geotags, mobile device location data, IP addresses, and other location-based attributes that describe the physical location of the business, person, or device.

Why do you need location data?

The use of location data has become essential for various industries such as Telecom, Retail, Real Estate, and Financial Services. It helps in understanding consumers’ behavior, providing insights into specific geographic areas or businesses, optimizing supply chains, ensuring public safety, and much more. Location data has become a critical component in these sectors, providing valuable information to fuel their operations.

Location data has various use cases, here are a few that we find particularly compelling:

  • Location-based advertising: Advertisers can use location data to target ads to specific geographic areas or to consumers who have visited specific locations. By knowing a user’s physical location, businesses can provide more relevant and personalized experiences, such as customized recommendations, promotions, or notifications.
  • Navigation and mapping: Navigation apps and mapping software use location data to provide real-time directions and maps to help people navigate to and search for desired destinations. For example, incorporating business operating hours, real-time traffic and whether a Starbucks is in-store or is stand-alone, can be the difference between a positive and negative navigation experience.
  • Market research: Location data is used to understand consumer behavior and preferences in specific geographic areas, which can inform business decisions and marketing strategies. Location data considerations can include; business makeup, real estate data, demographics, road traffic data, environmental and behavioral habits of an area.
  • Competitive analysis: Companies can use location data to figure out where to best open a new franchise or location by scoping out the area and studying the competitive environment, similar businesses nearby, or the general makeup of the trade area.
  • Risk assessment: Financial and insurance companies can use location data to assess risk. For example, is there a possibility of wildfire in this area? Is crime high in this footprint? These considerations can inform pricing, premiums, and loans.

3 challenges of location data and how to overcome them

1. The Challenge: Accuracy

One of the biggest challenges with location data is its accuracy. Location data is impacted by a variety of factors including businesses opening or closing, people relocating, devices changing hands, and so on. Inaccurate data can lead to poor business decisions, wasted resources, and reduced customer satisfaction.

The Solution: Scheduled data hygiene

Updating your data on a regular basis is the only solution to the problem of accuracy. We recommend that you work with a data partner who can cleanse and append your data at least monthly, if not in real-time. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that data changes fast. At Data Axle, we capture these changes daily.

2. The Challenge: Privacy

The public is more concerned with data privacy than ever before – and that is reflected in the global policies and legislation that have been enacted in recent years. Location data can reveal sensitive information about individuals, such as where they live, work, and spend their time. To protect privacy, businesses must implement strong security measures and comply with current and upcoming privacy regulations.

The Solution: Vetting your data sources

Your company is responsible for how you gather your data. Current business practices have mostly been shaped by Europe’s pioneering data privacy guidance, but other legislative bodies around the world are quickly following suit.

Japan, Australia, Brazil, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, Nevada, and Virginia, all have their own laws to protect consumer privacy over the web, the metaverse and beyond.  While there is no universally accepted industry standard for protecting consumer privacy, several organizations, including the IAB are working on producing guidelines to standardize best practices.

In the intervening period, you need to be able to rely on your partners to help you stay on top of the latest ethical data collection laws and guidance. Working with a partner that provides transparency into their data practices is a good place to start. At Data Axle, we focus on legislative compliance and seeing around corners with regards to legislation.

3. The Challenge: Integration

Location data can be complex, and it may be difficult to integrate with other types of data or into a product without requiring advanced analytics and data processing tools to derive insights.

The Solution: Choosing the right data provider

Selecting a data provider that can easily integrate data into a product or platform is crucial. You need to look for sources that provide standardized data, reliable, and flexible file formats. The provider should also offer comprehensive customer service, technical support, and proper documentation to seamlessly onboard new data and ensure smooth product operation.

It goes without saying that every product or platform’s data requirements are different as they support an extensive range of use cases. Yet, one thing remains the same: businesses and developers need to prioritize coverage, accuracy, ease of implementation, and frequency of data updates when vetting available sources to set themselves up for success.

Have more challenges you need to overcome? We are here to help.

Contact us today and get started on your journey to making location data work for you.

Carson Collins
Carson Collins
Account Manager

Carson Collins has spent the last 5 years building his career in data licensing with Data Axle. Carson understands his client's challenges and is passionate about customizing solutions to best fit their needs and helping them exceed their business goals.