Unlocking secret audiences; the power of location data

The world is becoming increasingly data-driven. It isn’t just a buzzword as data is being obsessively collected, processed, stored, sold, bought, as the new currency of the digital space. Why? Data is a gateway to understanding customer behavior, and in this ultra-competitive ecosystem, one’s depth of customer intelligence is what separates the leaders from the crowd.

Over the past years, we have become experts in tracking and analyzing online behavior. Cookies, pixels and the like are the little informants that let us gather insights into online journeys and in turn target customers accordingly. But online only accounts for a fragment of customers’ meaningful touch points. Indeed, according to recent statistics presented by Ofcom (UK) and by USC Annenberg (US), both the average user spends around 24h a week online, which, although significant, still leaves the remaining waking hours unaccounted for. According to the same studies, 78% of Brits and 86% of the US population are smartphone owners. And this is where the underused opportunity lies.

The average user spends around 24 hours a week online, which, although significant, still leaves the remaining waking hours unaccounted for.

Offline journeys, or more technically speaking ‘location history’ and ‘time spent’, constitute the data that now allows digital marketers to bridge the gap from half-informed demographic, to rich profiling. At a time when marketers invest in deep segmentation and carefully tailored engagement strategies, with the help of marketing automation platforms, the offline puzzle-piece is a game changer. It’s time to step beyond simply reaching the right person, evolving your marketing strategy with the right place and time; in essence the exact right moment.

How an OTA generated +50% engagement uplift by leveraging offline insights


A large online travel agency* (OTA) uses a mobile marketing automation platform (MMA). Through this platform, this OTA builds user profiles, segments, and orchestrates a multi-channel strategy to engage its user base.

*Anonymized use case


Based on online behavior, they are able to identify who their loyal customers are and the frequency of their travel habits. This group of seasoned travelers is a primary focus for such an OTA; relatively fast turnover, high Lifetime Value and so on. They know, however, that there are many more frequent travelers than the number of users in that segment. How could they identify new users with high potential to become loyal customers other than tracking online behavior?


This OTA identified a hidden audience, which flew regularly yet didn’t use the OTA to either browse or book their journey. How? Based on app location history, the agency defined offline behaviors that qualified users as part of this high potential “frequent flyer” cohort: for example users that visited any airport in the world at least 6 times within a period of 3 months. The provided data was then integrated into their existing online audience parameters. Having uncovered this opportunity, the agency launched a cross-channel campaign–as part of their existing MMA strategy–tailored to this specific group of customers.


By deepening their understanding of (potential) customers and making their communication hyper-personal, marketing efforts saw a 50% uplift in engagement with the newly identified frequent travelers. This jump in user attention is observable across industries (detailed statistics are available in our contextual report), and if done well easily translates into monetary gains, as according to Google, “61% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from mobile sites and apps that customize information to their location”.

Next Steps

Frequent flyers are a highly valuable audience for an OTA, but opportunities do not stop there. Location data offers the potential to create highly specific audiences and to cater users with personalized content tailored to the interests of “winter sports regulars”, “happy campers” or “resort loungers”, based on users’ real-life patterns.

The untapped potential of offline-informed audiences

Your personalization strategy is no longer enough. Most marketers now have a good understanding of the value, or even need, of personalization. Heck, the vast majority of successful companies have a strategy to tackle the various needs of their diverse audience. But there is a world out there, in which people are moving around, spending time in different places, acting in and reacting to their environment in ways that your digital journey mapping tools just cannot take into consideration.

With churn statistics increasingly high and an audience ready to replace apps that don’t bring value in a heartbeat, providing users with that micro-level experience is vital. No kitchen-sink targeting, no blind-spots. There are many types of audiences that remain invisible based on online knowledge alone. It is time to embrace offline journey mapping and serve the customer with true, moment-based value.

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