Location Data and Consent

Location data can reveal a trove of information about a customer’s daily travel routines (such as commutes), recurring shopping habits (like grocery shopping or gas station stops), restaurant preferences, and even online-to-storefront purchasing behaviour. The data allows for more personalized targeting for the products and services customers might care about and enables more efficient ad targeting and budget allocation for marketers.

By obtaining user consent and offering visibility into how location data is being used, marketers can maintain customer trust and deliver meaningful content in the path to purchase.

The location data collection process involves several steps, including anonymization:

  1. Users consent to sharing their location data by opting-in when prompted in an app or browser.

  2. SDKs then gather and transmit information about a user’s location, including geographic coordinates and the time spent.

  3. The location data is then cleaned, anonymized, and aggregated into a database to build specific consumer profiles.

  4. All of this information can then be used by the marketer to target customers using programmatic (through a DSP) or direct advertising.

User data can be collected via IP addresses or mobile device ID when users are browsing on public WiFi networks or when they explicitly share their location during a search. A unique ID connected to a users’ device (desktop or mobile) is gathered during the process to provide advertisers with a re-targeting identifier.

By taking measures to ensure privacy is top-of-mind, marketers and businesses alike are better positioned to achieve the location-based marketing outcomes desired. Marketers should approach user privacy as a facet of both their own and their customers’ best interests to build a foundation of transparency. This approach should include:

  • Understanding and auditing the location-based insights that are most important to the business and the customers.

  • Building an airtight strategy on how personal data is handled, processed, and used for campaigns – in line with the strictest privacy regulations. [Companies can lean on the AdChoices program in Canada to help them in this regard.]

  • Determining a course of action for disposing of unused, irrelevant, and outdated user data.

  • Facilitating internal education and procedures for managing location data requests and disclosure inquiries.

  • Adhering to strict regulatory procedures in preparation of a potential data breach, with a clear operations process.

  • Review and analyze all contracts from vendors and third-party providers of user data to ensure regulatory compliance.

When businesses and marketers are able to manage and use location data responsibly, it can empower rich and impactful marketing outcomes. From understanding how consumers engage with retailers to identifying untapped opportunities for product localization, consumer location data is a potent tool for the digital marketer.

This blog post contains excerpts from Marketing Land’s “Location data 101: A primer for marketers” written by Taylor Peterson.


DAAClocation data, location, consent