Putting the Consumer at Ease: A Guide to Location-Based Advertising

Location-based advertising allows consumers to come in contact with advertising based on their actual needs and interests, sorting past all those other things they don’t actually care about. It also allows small businesses to dodge uninterested consumers and appeal specifically to their target group.

It sounds like a win-win situation for everyone, right?

Well, although there are many benefits of location-based advertising for both the consumer and the advertiser, customers aren’t without their apprehensions for giving their information out- and rightly so. Let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns of consumers, and how we can address them.

What are the customer’s concerns?

Privacy/Security

Even when people enjoy their smartphones and other technology, they aren’t necessarily ready to give them every detail of their lives. Privacy is reportedly the main reason users turn off their location settings. Location data can be very telling of a person’s habits and routines. These can be used to infer sensitive information about individuals such as their religious affiliation or political activities, information that they did not willingly give up. In general, concerns arise when information is gathered without a customer’s consent, or when information is used in ways the customer did not anticipate.

Safety

Security research by the U.S. Government Accountability Office has shown that there are safety risks with a more connected world, a world where your devices are no longer merely used for entertainment. For example, medical devices and automobiles connected to location-based services can be hacked, potentially putting the health and safety of their owners at risk. In fact, in 2015, a car was hacked through its connected entertainment system and the hackers were able to cut the brakes and disable the transmission.

Additionally, while hackers may not try to manipulate the technology itself, an unsecured service can increase the likelihood of stolen personal information and identity theft. While most consumers do not jump to these extreme scenarios when considering whether or not to permit location-based services, still the question lingers: “Is this really safe?”

Hassle

Customers don’t want to be bombarded with push-notifications and content or constantly have services requesting additional information from them. In a technological world that is constantly offering them information, they don’t want to open themselves up to more than necessary.

How you deal with those concerns

Consent

Mostly, your customers just want a choice. Don’t take without asking, and always allow them to deny access to their location. Additionally, allow your customers the choice to always revoke their decision for consent they previously gave. Leaving the door open for your customer to choose what information they allow you to have is the same as leaving the door open for them to trust you.

Make the choice obvious

Clearly communicate to the customer what the benefits are for them giving you their information. Most users are willing to give your their information, so long as the benefits for giving their information outweigh the cost or risk of giving up some privacy. Make it obvious why you are asking for their location in relation for what you are trying to do for them.

Let them know your intentions

Let them know exactly what you are going to with their information. If you intend to share their information with any third parties, communicate that. Let them know you won’t overload them with notifications or advertisements that aren’t relevant to their interests.

Stick to your word

This one is hopefully obvious. If you make a promise to your customers, keep that promise. If anything within your system changes that contradicts what you initially communicated to the consumer, inform them of those changes. Meet consumer expectations of integrity and trust, doing otherwise may greatly harm the image of your company.

Educate yourself and your staff

The reputable privacy certification organization, TRUSTe has reported that, of the top 100 U.S. websites, 97 percent had some form of privacy policy in place. However, of this high percentage, many companies had a “weak understanding” of their own privacy policies used on their website. Many could not even identify which personal data they were collecting from consumers, or who they were sharing that information with.

The fix is to get educated. At the least, businesses should know what their location-based service does, what data it is collecting and with whom that data is being shared. Claiming ignorance regarding the data of consumer location information does not necessarily protect a business from privacy-related liability and certainly does not promote confidence in the business’s privacy practices.

Consider hiring an expert

While it isn’t always necessary, it’s not a bad idea to hire someone strictly for dealing with privacy. Not only can an expert help you avoid any legal complications, they can help you with implementing the above five suggestions.

What are you waiting for?

So while there are challenges with location-based advertising, they aren’t insurmountable. And these challenges are completely worthwhile to overcome since the benefits of being found in a local search and being able to market to local customers is hugely beneficial. Through following these tips you can gain, and keep, your customer’s trust.

About the Author

Kelly Shelton

Kelly has over 20 years marketing, sales and customer service experience. He is a champion for small businesses and prides himself in helping them compete and thrive in a digital world. Kelly is currently the VP of Marketing for Boostability, a company dedicated to helping small businesses grow online. He manages a team that is responsible for demand generation, customer messaging and experience, branding, social media and all things marketing. His expertise includes search engine optimization, social media, content marketing, customer communication, lead generation and conversion optimization, to name a few.

Twitter – @kellyshelton32

Email – [email protected]

Phone – 800-261-1537

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