Interview: Carnegie Mellon Professor Ari Lightman On How Students Are Empowered By Learning To Use Brandwatch Consumer Research
By Kara FinnertyJun 10
Where are you, right now?
There’s an unlimited amount of ways to answer this question. Depending on who’s asking, and the context, you might say anything from ‘London’ to ‘about 5 minutes away’.
There’s a time and a place for city codes, co-ordinates and landmark proximity – and each is valuable in its own way. Our industry is currently understanding the value of knowing where thousands social media users are, and where they’re Tweeting from.
Location data answers vital questions that marketing professionals have. It helps us deliver location-based advertising, differentiate between markets, spot popular areas, determine where your presence is strongest geographically.
Yet, there’s no one single figure available us that answers all of these questions. Figuring out user location is difficult, and it depends what you’re looking for.
The most common way to figure out a Twitter users’ location is the most inaccurate.
It places hundreds of thousands of users in Ecuador and Morocco.
It’s because location data – for many social analytics services – is based off the users’ timezone selection. Though this seems like an efficient way to get the nearest capital city from Tweeters, users don’t always answer the location question accurately.
Presented with a page-long list of capital cities, people often just find their timezone and click whatever city is closest to their cursor.
Due this seemingly minor quirk, thousands of social media posters are misplaced. If you’re not being smart about location data, you might find yourself making a decision to move into North African and Ecuadorian markets based on erroneous data.
Of course, there are other ways to get location data. Most of them are more sophistic and accurate than timezone approximation.
With Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there’s an option to add a specific location in your bio. But even this isn’t always useful for marketers and social analysts.
Plenty of people write fantasy or joke locations.
Even when the location is accurate, users will set it up when they make an account then leave it. People move, they go on holiday and secondments. It’s not worth sending ads about London bars to someone working 6 months in San Francisco.
Millions of people check into locations using FourSquare or Facebook, giving us a look at what establishment they’ve just entered – this particularly useful when paired the other data they’re proving – whether it’s a good review, bad review, or all-important context, it helps brand learn more about their image and their customer.
We’ve recently added geo-tagged data to our dashboards. Accurate to 10 meters, it’s currently the best way of defining user location.
Few business are exactly sure how to use it, though some are happy they’ve finally achieved this level of accuracy and fidelity.
Forward thinking companies have already started using this type of rich data to drive campaigns and business decisions. Millward Brown set out to drive more in-store customer visits for a client.
Serving up ads based on geotag data, their store visits rose by 100%. “Using location data will help target campaigns to the most relevant consumers more accurately than ever,” writes Amanda Phillips, the head of marketing at Millward Brown. “Get it wrong or target the wrong consumer, however, and this type of messaging can drive negative impacts.”
Marketers are going to need a crash course in location data, and we’re here to provide it.
We’re going to introduce the many applications of location data in series on posts on our blog over the next few weeks. This is just the start. You’re going to love it.