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Location targeting has reached mass adoption among U.S. advertisers, but lack of attribution metrics still holds some back. These were the top takeaways from a report recently released by xAd about U.S. advertiser sentiment towards mobile.

The “money stat” is perhaps that a whopping 80 percent of U.S. advertisers are employing some form of location targeting in their campaigns. This supports BIA/Kelsey projections on the growth of location targeting as a share of overall mobile ad spending.

But as we’ve also examined, there are many different flavors of location targeting, which xAd specifies in this report. The clear winner is audience targeting, an under appreciated but vital tactic. Other methods include geofenced ad placement and geo-specific ad copy.

Audience targeting speaks the language of brand advertisers by tapping into a longstanding familiarity to reach specific audience segments. The difference is that companies like xAd use mobile signals to achieve much more precision than traditional methods.

As for advertisers who still haven’t adopted location targeting, the biggest reason is their perceived lack of ROI metrics. This gets into an important discussion of campaign attribution, which signals the need to educate advertisers on measuring campaigns properly.

Indeed, the advertiser perception is paradoxically misaligned with the reality that there are actually solid attribution technologies available (xAd has one of them). This gets back to the reality that it’s not just about targeting tactics but measuring the right things.

Here we see an affliction in the advertising world to be addicted to online metrics. Because most transactions happen offline (especially in key categories like retail), connecting the dots from mobile to offline conversions is the name of the game.


Several other revealing data points are in xAd’s report which you can download for free, and see a few charts below. Further below, you can also see more color on the above principles from my interview with xAd’s Dan Hight at BIA/Kelsey NATIONAL.

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