Ericsson ad division says carrier location data provides it with competitive advantage

  •   June 12, 2018
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Location data is an effective targeting, analytics and audience discovery tool. However, the quality of underlying location data is widely variable, and it’s often challenging for marketers to know the quality of the data their vendors are using.

Enter Swedish networking and telecoms company Ericsson and its mobile ad division, Emodo. The company has launched a new location and audience targeting product called Emodo Audiences. It’s a “carrier verified” offering, which the company claims makes it more accurate than other location-based audience targeting solutions available in the market.

Location data are derived from SDKs, apps, beacons and store visitation. Emodo matches user device ID with a lat/long and date and time stamp to the carrier data to verify accuracy. The original location data it passes to the carrier is coming from approximately 150 first-, second- and third-party sources. Validating Emodo location data with an “independent truth set of carrier data” is like third-party verification (except that Emodo is doing it).

The company says it offers both predefined and customized audience segments. In this way, it’s similar to many other location data providers in the market.

Emodo is either directly paying carriers or doing an ad-revenue share, depending on the specific relationship. It claims, “Carrier data is uniquely qualified as a persistent, accurate, and scalable data source, in that it captures everything that happens on the mobile device — up to 600 events per device per day.”

Some will dispute that carrier data is the gold standard for location accuracy. However, the comparison of Emodo’s own data with that of carriers would appear to boost its overall accuracy. While the company didn’t specify how much location data is “weeded out” in this process, others have argued that 50 percent or more of location data from apps and other mobile sources is of low quality.

Not all location data needs to be 100 percent accurate all the time. As a practical matter, it depends on the use case. For example, if the objective is offline attribution, that needs to be more precise (Did they come into the store?) than data that may be one input into audience profiling. Still, more accurate data is better than less accurate data.

Notwithstanding the device ID matching in the background, Emodo says it’s entirely “privacy compliant.” In the US market, that can mean different things to different providers. However, in a post-GDPR environment, the company told me in an email, “We adhere to the principle that informed and explicit consent is a prerequisite to collection and use of location data and advertising IDs.”