Marketers have a growing appreciation for location data—data indicating the geographical location of the user. A survey by 451 Research, an information technology research and advisory company, found that 82 percent of marketers plan to increase their use of location data over the next two years.

The research, conducted in April among 150 North American marketers in large companies primarily within four vertical markets—automotive, retail, quick-service restaurants and banking—found that 73 percent of respondents agreed it was very important to leverage location data for a deeper understanding of customer behavior across channels. Among survey respondents, 57 percent said interest in integration of offline and online promotions is a primary factor for consideration of increased spending on location data moving forward, while 71 percent indicated that competitive intelligence would be the most likely new use case.

“While targeted and more relevant advertising has long been the primary application of location data, we are seeing a change in the way marketers are viewing use of insights,” says Antonio Tomarchio, CEO of location intelligence company Cuebiq, the company that commissioned 451 Research’s study. “There is a growing interest not only in location data as a tool for competitive intelligence, but also as a way to help marketers better understand consumer behavior on an aggregated, anonymous basis.”

A majority of respondents (72 percent) strongly agreed with the idea that knowing how customers spend time in the real world would be useful in planning their campaigns, and 74 percent strongly agreed that location information is key to understanding how customers interact with businesses. A slightly smaller majority (65 percent) said that mapping the off-line journey provides actionable insights on customer behavior and brand affinity. Nearly half (43 percent) of respondents wanted to use location data to send promotions to customers when they entered a specific area, while a similar number wanted to deliver targeted ads or offers.

The most cited reason as to what hinders use of location data—rated as important or somewhat important by 73 percent of respondents—was the lack of ability to measure success across channels, followed closely by not having a technology infrastructure that is set up to gather and analyze detailed data (70 percent). The lack of budget was cited by 64 percent.

“The study indicates there are three main factors that marketers need to consider as they build out their location-based programs,” says Tomarchio. “First, they need to learn how to better measure success. It was clear in the survey that metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) were identified as factors holding back marketers from expanding the way they were using location analytics. Second, there is a need to improve coordination between brick and mortar teams and the overall marketing teams. These operational silos are hampering effectiveness of location insights. Finally, marketers need to build upon what they already have developed with location data. Marketers are using what is familiar, but to move forward, they need to leverage what they already know, such as CRM data, with a greater knowledge of what is happening in stores, made possible through location insights.”

A copy of the white paper, “Where Are We? A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Location Intelligence,” can be downloaded here.