Proximity and beacon data now making its way into DSPs for retargeting

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When they hear “beacons,” most marketers think of in-store coupons or notifications. Yet retargeting is quickly emerging as a compelling use case for the proximity data and technology.

Yext launched one of the first beacon-based, offline-to-online retargeting solutions but later decided to abandon it. Today, Unacast and mobile marketing platform and DSP Juice Mobile are announcing a partnership to provide marketers and brands with proximity data for mobile retargeting and attribution.

A number of companies today are using location data for targeting, attribution or retargeting. However, Unacast CEO Thomas Walle says that the difference here is that the data are “deterministic,” very “granular” and available at scale:

The data is 100 percent deterministic and we can understand what people have been doing inside stores, in specific departments and interacted with different products. This granularity does [not exist] at Facebook, Google or any other company.

Unacast aggregates beacon and other proximity sensor data (e.g., WiFi) from numerous third parties into a database. The company says this is the first time this kind of proximity data has been available at scale.

As suggested above, Walle argues this data is not the same as store visits data, which is itself underutilized and very powerful. The data here includes in-store information: “from what stores [consumers] visit to the aisles they spend the most time, to the products they are standing by.” Walle points out that GPS has variable accuracy and that proximity data is much more reliable.

The uses of location data are many and varied, including analytics and attribution for a range of media channels, contextual targeting and greater personalization for marketing messages and ads. The issue is that many of the available capabilities now exceed what most marketers can execute against. CMOs and marketing departments need to catch up to the technology.

Retargeting is conceptually straightforward and, together with analytics, will probably emerge as a dominant beacon use case: customer X was in the store — or in a particular department such as young women’s apparel — so we know something specific about interests and buying intentions. This can subsequently translate into more customized ads and even segmented email messaging.

Location is an elastic and extremely valuable tool to accomplish many business objectives. As more marketers wake up to the value of location data, we will continue to see many more deals like this.


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