Location map graphic

The Current State of Location-based Data Sharing and Advertising

Remember the last time you turned on your phone’s location to figure out when your food order will arrive? How about when you were stuck in public transit and wanted to know where the bus was relative to your location? Pokémon Go? That mobile application and others, both like and unlike it, use location data. 

According to research by HERE Technologies, 75% of mobile users share their location data in order to enable a service. Before users download an application, they are usually given information about the type of data that developers and publishers would gain access to. However, the request may not explain what they would do with it. 


Location statistics by eMarketer

Sometimes, information about one’s whereabouts is used for location-based advertising. This form of marketing gives users more personalized advertising based on the places they’ve visited. However, based on the study, only 35% of mobile users are willing to share this type of data with others when it comes to personalized advertising. 

There are several reasons why consumers are hesitant about sharing data. For one, they are unsure about what the information would be used for, especially if the reasoning behind the request is unclear. A livestreaming service for sports, for example, may want location data due to certain features and regional guidelines. Meanwhile, a music application’s request for the same type of information may face more scrutiny. 


Location data used by Pokemon Go

As for a game like Pokémon Go, it primarily takes user location information to make the application itself function properly. The game uses augmented reality technology and the user’s real location to create an experience. In-game items may also be collected at certain PokéStops, while how far the user has walked determines when a Pokémon egg would hatch. 

When it comes to navigation applications, location data sharing can be easily understood because users benefit from knowing what places to visit and how to find a specific destination. Take a look at Uber and Lyft. The drivers know where to pick their customers up thanks to location sharing. If someone gets lost, then opening up Google Maps can help with finding their bearings. 


Location statistics

According to the study by HERE Technologies, 71% of consumers are willing to share location information when it comes to either map or navigation services. The second top reason for location sharing, totalling 69%, is obtaining the weather forecast.

Personalized advertising, ranked at 35%, is low compared to these percentages. So what can marketers do to make consumers more willing to share location data? There are several ways to encourage sharing. 


Location data used by Google Maps navigation

First and foremost, marketers should be transparent about what the location data would be used for when communicating with consumers. Transparency is key because it helps increase the level of trust between a consumer and a business. Informing consumers about what their data will be used for is a step in the right direction. This can be done by directing consumers to an informative page about the privacy policy.

Another way marketers can build trust is by providing a clear and easily understood explanation of the location-sharing benefits. This may be in the form of tools that help with decision-making or even offers that are more relevant to the consumer’s interests. 

Giving users the ability to edit their privacy settings is another way to keep the consumer and business relationship strong because it gives the former party a choice and various levels of control. This also ensures the customer knows that a business takes consent seriously. 


Location-based advertising doesn’t have to be an “us versus them” narrative between consumers and businesses. It can be mutually beneficial for both parties at the end of the day, and the Find Your Audience team is ready to work with clients to increase customer satisfaction and improve the bottom line. The Find Your Audience team can be reached at hi@findyouraudience.online and 647-479-0688.

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