Location Is The New Cookie; Here’s How To Get A Bite

steinberg-twc-sell-siderThe Sell-Sider” is a column written by the sell-side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Jeremy Steinberg, Senior Vice President of Digital Ad Sales for The Weather Company.

One of the most important tasks I have in my role as the head of a digital ad sales team is increasing mobile revenue. How can I do this? My plan is to use location as the new cookie.

Location data is relevant to a moment. It’s personal, but not too personal – a privacy-friendly alternative to the cookie. Location is digital but bridges the real world. It’s specific and reliable; there are 44,000 ZIP codes in the United States. And location encompasses both where you are now and where you’re going later.

Location is also one of the few targetable attributes on a phone. If you want to provide a marketer with a solution to reach all your consumers across all your platforms, you need location data. Not much else works.

But location in and of itself is not enough. Here’s what else you need to take your mobile business to the next level:


It’s not enough to just say you know customers’ locations. Most marketers are going to start to see right through that by the end of this year. You also need to make sure your location data is accurate. The last thing you need is to show a message on the Upper East Side when it is meant for Tribeca.

Adaptive Messaging

When you target consumers by location, make sure you also adapt the message accordingly. Don’t just put a message in front of someone because they’re in the right location. If you want a consumer to see a message, it needs to be relevant. And the more specific you can get, the better. How about referencing West Los Angeles and the traffic condition?

A Sense Of Reality

It’s important to tie real-world activity to your mobile messaging. The days of measuring effectiveness based on how many people visit a site are over. It’s now based on how many people visit a real store. You should be crafting a very different message for someone who’s arriving at the Short Hills Mall versus for someone who just left.

Good Timing

As noted above, timing also is key. Get the message to the location, but only when it makes sense. For example, you should consider whether or not Michigan won the football game earlier today if you’re trying to reach consumers in Ann Arbor.


Figure out what’s unique to your company and how to take advantage of that when using location. I have the weather. Weather extends across all platforms, and – when matched with location – can make for a very relevant message. For example, I can message consumers in Fort Worth, Texas, to pick up a board game at a local retailer on Wednesday because it’s going to rain on Friday.

I’m sure you know your value proposition and point of differentiation. But do you know how to combine it with location? If you do, you’ll get a big bite of the new cookie and your mobile revenue will no doubt increase.

Follow Jeremy Steinberg (@jeremysteinberg) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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