The Changing Tides on Location Tracking

For the last several years location tracking has provided marketers with key details into the lives and habits of consumers around the world. What a person accesses (for instance social media), when they access it and from where, has offered media campaigners the ability to offer real time advertisements that had a higher probability of success with each encounter. However, this feature proved to be unpopular with consumers due to a combination of privacy and power-drainage issues. My best guess it also didn’t sit well with both Apple and Google, they don’t want to share their highly prized locational data with other apps. In response, both Apple and Google are implementing changes in their mobile operating systems that limits advertisers’ ability to access these features and makes it harder for advertisers to conceal when the information is being obtained. Here are some of the ramifications of this change and how turning to an alternative like PoweredLocal can help you with your mobile marketing needs.

No Longer Receiving Constant Access

Marketing developers, you can blame companies like Uber and Waze for this change. In the past, it was possible to track where a customer was and provide advertisements when the individual enters a certain zone, for instance within walking distance of a store. Due to public backlash over this information being constantly pooled by companies like Uber, there have been changes in the relevant default system settings for iOS and Android to explicitly prevent this from occurring.

Shift from Location to Demographic Information

Traditional mobile advertising focused solely on the phone owner, with social media considerations coming a far second in importance. This was due to the sheer amount of data available that could indicate everything from potential sales opportunities (X people eat here and buy Y. Client bought Y so they may be interested in eating here) to identifying wavering brand loyalty (decreased number of visits.)

The sudden shuttering of most of this information flow may appear at first glance to be a bad, however, it will force developers to get creative and find way to connect data from multiple sources into a composite buyer profile. This is done by connecting internet access at the location with social media. When a user logs in, the device is registered and a “check-in” made on social media. Then whenever the user returns to the store, or goes to other participating locations, “check-ins” are automatically made that slowly build a profile that is just as accurate as location tracking. It even goes beyond this by allowing the participating companies to reach out to the customer for support or marketing purposes with full confidence.

Adds Incentive for People to Visit

By transitioning your customer monitoring from location tracking to hyper-local Wi-Fi hotspots you will give customers an additional incentive to stop by. The reason is simple — it’s impossible to resist free and fast data. For potential customers seeking to avoid spending an extra $10 on their mobile phone bill, a visit to your store may be the best thing they do all day. Once inside, you will have access to their social media account and can amaze them with in-store specials. A win-win for everyone involved.

From Mobile to Local Access

While this avenue may be closed, there is still a way to obtain customer information with ease. The humble Wi-Fi hotspot is relied upon by millions of people worldwide to save mobile data, to the point that wireless companies advocate people to automatically join secure public networks. PoweredLocal(4) enables you to create a secure public hotspot that forces clients to provide key details and share their location on social media. Every return visit builds a stronger picture of the customer’s habits, making it easy to craft targeted advertising as needed. Learn more about PoweredLocal today.


Michael Jankie is chief executive and co-founder of PoweredLocal, an end-to-end provider of Wi-Fi to small businesses.

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