Apps May Be Underestimating Location Targeting Power

In all the discussions about user sensitivities to location tracking, we  forget that most of us are agreeing to have our locations tracked by multiple apps. This is a missed opportunity, says app messaging service Urban Airship. “It’s clear that 60-70% of app users opting in to share their location is not uncommon,” the company states in its newest “Good Push Index” report on best practices in the app messaging space. In fact, a higher share of app users seem to be entrusting  publisher with their location information than give app makers access to their push notification channel. But many are opting in to both location tracking and push messaging, which means that a majority of apps could be reaching more than half of their user base with location-aware targeted messages.

But most aren’t.

Even among companies using audience segmentation in their push messaging, only 31% segment by current location. The potential for push messages keyed to location is enormous, some of Urban Airship’s clients attest. It’s not just a matter of using location as a real-time trigger. REI is quoted recalling how tests in retail markets targeted people who had been near its stores in the past three months with notices of an upcoming product demo. The company also used the system to send Garage Sale messages. Responses to these location-targeted pushes were 4X greater than non-targeted messages. A U.K. gambling company attests to similar 4X lifts in engagement when location was used in targeting the push.

One app in the retail category, SnipSnap, lets users convert paper coupons into digital coupons. During the Black Friday 2013 weekend the app sent 400,000 push notifications, which included location-aware notes, netting 150,000 coupons saved to phones and 75,000 redemptions. SnipSnap gets a 10% to 20% lift in redemption rates when users opt-in for location-aware reminders. …