The Benefits of Geotracking

One of the most exciting – and controversial – new applications of mobile marketing research is geofencing or geotracking. Using specialized software, researchers draw a virtual fence around a geographic location (e.g., mall, big box store, etc.) and monitor shopper behavior through the geolocation signals emitted by their cell phones. If this is done with shopper’s specific informed consent, researchers and marketers can introduce and test marketing messages and promotions, and send mini-surveys keyed to participants’ locations within the fenced area. Geotracking delivers unique, in-the-moment behavior observations without the concerns of respondent recall or interviewer bias. Additionally, researchers gain a holistic view of consumer behavior with their brand and competitive brands using comparable methodologies.

Research Now SSI lists the following benefits of geofencing:

While some individuals (and regulators) are concerned about the “Big Brother” intrusive aspect of geofencing, there are many benefits for marketers and consumers. Moreover, as long as we are careful to protect customers privacy and the security and operations of their mobile devices (see our blog on ESOMAR’s Guideline for Mobile Research), we can all benefit from this exciting new technology.