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Less data for location-based marketers

News, 18 July 2017
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NEW YORK: Both Apple and Android are set to introduce changes to their policies around the gathering of location data via their mobile operating systems which have the potential to affect mobile marketers.

From September, Apple’s iOS 11 update will mean consumers see a blue bar at the top of the screen to alert them when background apps are tracking location, Ad Exchanger reported.

Apple is also introducing different ways for app developers to request location data consent from users – for example, by mandating that apps which offer in-use tracking can only request “always” tracking once.

The focus of Android O, however, is not on permissions but on the frequency of collection of data – which is being reduced from every few minutes to only a few times an hour for background apps.

Michael Rodriguez, IBM Weather Co.’s head of mobile product, told Ad Exchanger the iOS change would “undoubtedly have an impact on consumer behavior”, but was relaxed about the effect on his own business which has a clear reason for requesting such data.

“As with most things, as long as the app is demonstrating real value with the information provided, the users will continue to use the service.”

One consequence is likely to be that those apps that demand location data for no functional reason but which simply sell on the information will see a revenue stream diminished.

Android explained that it was making less data available to “background” apps in order to reduce smartphones’ power consumption, but added that “foreground” apps would remain unaffected.

Since foreground apps are responsible for most location industry data, according to David Staas, president of the mobile location targeting and analytics firm NinthDecimal, marketers probably won’t have to make major adjustments.

But he added that the actions of Apple and Android “will change aspects of what you can do and data will come less frequently in both”.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, Android; additional content by WARC staff

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