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.