Creepy Amazon Tech, Hidden Settings, & Snapchat: Location Targeting Updates

by Avatar in PPC, Technology July 7, 2017

Relevance Drives Engagement: Target Location and Win

It’s 2017, and the future is definitely here. Real life hoverboards, drone delivery, in-home artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars are all very real. Given these advancements in practical tech, it’s no wonder that advertisers the world over are taking advantage of widely available location data in order to serve relevant ads to customers. Given the prevalence of Google Maps, consumers are used to being able to find products or services that are conveniently nearby. The increased utility of this information improves the relevance of ads that leverage location data, ultimately increasing engagement and driving sales. The first point of order here is to not be creepy. Given the expectation that already exists for location-based advertising, advertisers almost have to consciously try to be creepy, but that’s not stopping them. In a recent PR trainwreck, it was revealed that Amazon holds the patent to some truly awful tech designed to suppress comparison shopping while customers are in brick and mortar stores. Not only is this a flagrantly negative use of location data, it would undermine the basic digital freedoms that we’ve come to expect.

Amazon’s unfortunate patent is designed to take effect when users log on to in-store WiFi networks. A more widely used practice (and a much more effective one) is to require an email address for access to in-store WiFi, and then to retarget or otherwise leverage that data for future marketing campaigns. These email addresses can provide plenty of opportunities from loyalty coupon blasts to Facebook Lookalike audience creation. Snapchat Geofilters also present a chance to drastically amplify real-time content and branding for all kinds of businesses, from events to retail. Depending on your location, fencing off your storefront or venue could be comparatively inexpensive (and frequently is, excluding ultra high competition urban environments), and the reach of filtered Snapchats compounds by orders of magnitude. In fact, Snapchat has recently doubled down on location ads with Snap Maps. This new feature allows users to share their location with one another via an integration with GroundTruth, which improves targeting potential for both Geofilters and Snap Ads. This is exciting news for advertisers. These new developments are important to be aware of, but you may even be missing some important notes within the most widely used geotargeting tech in advertising: Google and Facebook.

There are a few hidden settings within these two platforms that can make all the difference for SMBs that are DIYing their ad campaigns. First up, Google AdWords. Within the Settings tab, you can find a link that reads “Location options (advanced).” When you open this setting, you’ll see the following options: “People in, searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location (recommended), People in my targeted location, and People searching for my targeted location.” Many small businesses struggle to compete in crowded marketplaces, and want to create campaigns that are highly relevant in order to prevent wasted clicks. For retailers hoping to drive foot traffic through their doors, the second option is likely best. For a home services company that may need to captures homeowners who are searching for service while in a different location (at work, on vacation), the third option may be best.

Facebook has similar targeting differentials for location: “Everyone in this location, People who live in this location, People recently in this location, and People traveling in this location.” Choosing the correct option for your campaign is a crucial element of getting the most bang for your marketing buck. Location data can be your best friend when designing ad campaigns, but preset campaign settings could be hurting your efforts. Make sure to check on these options and edit them in your active accounts! Check back with for more updates in the digital marketing, SEO, and advertising spaces. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.