Loca­tion mea­sure­ment and seg­men­ta­tion has been around for years and com­pa­nies have seen a lot of suc­cess tar­get­ing cus­tomers based on their loca­tion.  Their abil­ity to gain insight and make deci­sions based on loca­tion has only got­ten better.

What has changed?

With mobile device sales grow­ing and soon to over­take the sales of tra­di­tional com­put­ers the idea of mea­sur­ing users based on their loca­tion becomes more inter­est­ing. More impor­tantly, we can now mea­sure them more accu­rately.  With tra­di­tional loca­tion based mea­sure­ment we back­track the IP of the com­puter to the city the user should be located in.  This report­ing is gen­er­ally accu­rate enough, but with mobile devices the IP back­track is less accu­rate.  How­ever, we have a new tool at our fin­ger­tips: the vis­i­tors GPS loca­tion.
With the GPS loca­tion, not only do we know what state or city they are in, but we know almost exactly where they are stand­ing at the cur­rent moment.  More impor­tantly, we know if they are close to your busi­ness or not.

Vail Resorts Example

Vail Resorts, a lead­ing com­pany on mea­sur­ing mobile activ­ity, is using the GPS loca­tion to mea­sure where their users are using their appli­ca­tions.  More inter­est­ingly, they are mea­sur­ing if peo­ple are using their mobile appli­ca­tions on the moun­tain or off of the mountain. With the infor­ma­tion they are able to make bet­ter deci­sion on how to develop their appli­ca­tion and what they should offer their visitors.

How to get loca­tion (GPS) infor­ma­tion on a phone?

There are sev­eral ways to do this so, I am not going to list them all. I will sim­ply point you to some doc­u­men­ta­tion that should help get you started:

Android: Loca­tion and Maps and Obtain­ing User Loca­tion
iOS: Mak­ing Your Appli­ca­tion Location-Aware

Mobile Geo-Segmentation Solution

The solu­tion Vail Resorts is using is a new solu­tion (announced at Sum­mit 2011) offered here at Adobe.  If you would like more infor­ma­tion you can go to our solu­tions por­tal and down­load a doc­u­ment or request more information.

The solu­tion works by tak­ing the lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude that your appli­ca­tion sends in on a hit and trans­lates it to a zip­code in your report­ing.  From there you get accu­rate loca­tion report­ing like this.

To get the more strate­gic report that tells you if a user is in a spe­cific loca­tion, all you need to do is iden­tify a “loca­tion box” based on lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude ( done with Google Earth or other ser­vice).  If the GPS loca­tion in the image request falls within the “loca­tion box” then we alter the hit based on your require­ments.  With this type of imple­men­ta­tion you can get reports that look like this.

In Vail Resorts sit­u­a­tion they cre­ated bound­ing boxes around all of their resorts. Then the report showed what moun­tain they were on or if they were not on a moun­tain at all.

How you could use this information

Once you have the reports you will want to take action from them.  Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Are your users using your app in competitor’s location?
    • If so then give them offers, tell them about price match­ing, tell them about your bet­ter war­ran­tee or return pol­icy. Gen­er­ally, you want to get them to buy from you not your competitor.
  • Is a user close to your loca­tion when they use the app or in your location?
    • You can design your app to draw users to your loca­tion if they are using it out­side your location.
  • Is there a spe­cific type of loca­tion that vis­i­tors use your application?
    • If your vis­i­tors are using your appli­ca­tion at an air­port, sta­dium, cof­fee shop, restau­rant or any other loca­tion then you can cater con­tent or offers in those loca­tions. You might even want to adver­tise in those locations.

Other posts you might be inter­ested in:

As always, post your com­ments or e-mail me at Pearce (at) adobe​.com.  It is your com­ments and e-mails that keep me post­ing and give me ideas for future posts.