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Top Location Based Mobile Marketing Questions: Pt. 2 of 2

Part 2 of the "Top Location Based Mobile Marketing Questions" blog series examines specific aspects of Short Message Service (SMS) or text messaging as this tool is frequently utilized within proximity marketing for the retail industry. Here are six more questions and answers to provide greater insight into this approach to mobile marketing. 

1) How are SMS subscribers located?

As mentioned in part 1 of this blog post series, the process starts with a mobile geofence. These geofences acts as defined geographic perimeters around certain areas that allow businesses to trigger decisions or actions based on the location of an SMS subscriber. Imagine a circle on a map with the center as the physical business. 

Mobile geofences can circle anything or any area and this includes a retail store, neighborhood, a stadium, etc. LocationSmart uses a Network-based Geofence which uses carrier-grade location data to determine the location of the SMS subscriber. The carrier-grade location data used is provided by the SMS subscriber’s cell phone carrier and is generally based on their proximity to a series of cell towers. 

Once an SMS subscriber crosses through a mobile geofence, the business can initiate some form of engagement like sending mobile coupons or other notifications.

2) Are SMS subscribers required to opt-in before receiving location-based SMS messages from a brand?

Yes. Privacy is paramount and LocationSmart follows three rules for privacy.

  1. Have a good reason to capture the user’s mobile location
  2. Tell the user you are capturing their mobile location
  3. Ask permission and institute a system of regular reminder notifications to gain consent

There are a number of different methods for obtaining permission from customers and this allows businesses to hone and adjust communications based on their target audience's preferences. The most popular consent types used in marketing use cases are text message, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and web opt-in forms that capture their mobile phone numbers.

3) Does this technology always track SMS subscriber locations?

No, it is not necessary for network-based geofencing and would be an expensive undertaking to continuously track all SMS subscribers. Geofences should be used as additional data points for a business’ SMS campaign as a way to provide timely, locally relevant content. If this process is performed well then businesses can expect increased SMS redemption rates and a bump in ROI for SMS campaigns.

4) How accurate is the SMS subscriber’s location?

LocationSmart advocates the use of network-based mobile marketing geofences that uses carrier-grade location data to pinpoint the location of an SMS subscriber. 

Accuracy depends on a number of factors, including whether the SMS subscribers’ wireless carrier supports the use of A-GPS location capabilities, which are extremely accurate in outdoor environments, to less accurate options for mobile phones that use G-CID, Cell ID and Enhanced Cell IDs, which will produce a mobile geofence location accuracy ranging from one to five city blocks, or 100 – 5,000 meters. 

Other considerations that affect location accuracy of an SMS subscriber include the wireless carrier network technology, including GSM, UMTS, CDMA, HSPA, and LTE deployments, in addition to the topography of the area, such as if the SMS subscriber is in a dense urban, suburban or rural area.

5) How large or small can the geofence be and can we create it based on a city, state or a zip code?

A geofence for an SMS campaign can be as big or as small as the business wants. The size of the geofence depends on the SMS campaign requirements and the expected accuracy of the underlying location method that will be used i.e. A-GPS VS G-CID, which we discussed above. A business can also create multiple SMS geofences, which would be useful if they had multiple locations.

Yes. The best use case here is for online gambling where location data is a key requirement for any wage-taking gaming app, or mobile lottery. Obtaining approvals from regulatory agencies and gaming testing labs require that a user's physical location within a state or territory with legalized online gambling be verified to allow bets to be placed. GPS location can be easily spoofed, and wifi or geoIP are insufficient to provide validated location beyond country level. Network location accuracy, reach and un-spoofability make it a requirement for authenticated, verified location compliance. 

6) What are the costs associated with adding a geofencing SMS campaign to my company’s marketing efforts?

The costs for adding a network-based geofence to an existing SMS campaign depends on how often a brand wants to lookup the location of their SMS subscribers, so pricing can vary. It’s also very easy to increase or decrease how often an SMS subscriber is located, which can be adjusted based off the results a brand experiences. The best part is that this type of technology can be implemented on existing SMS campaigns with only a minimal amount of work.