In our rapidly evolving online world, digital marketers constantly have to find new ways to make sure their campaigns are reaching the right people with the right message.

Recently, an ecommerce site based out of New York City came to CARTO with a mission.

They wanted us to evaluate their latest Facebook marketing campaign, which targeted 25-mile radiuses around the metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of past customers.

While our analysis provided a few key recommendations, what was obvious more generally was that maps, location intelligence, and location data are necessary at every stage of your digital marketing campaign, from campaign strategy to execution to evaluation.

Campaign Strategy: Mapping Your Digital Campaign’s Audience

Arguably, the most important component of a digital campaign plan is defining the target audience.

Who a potential customer is, though, also depends heavily on where they are.

In the example below, imagine your campaign was focused on Chicago (or any other similarly-sized geographically bounded area). We follow our typical location intelligence process by setting spatial boundaries and enriching them with Spielman and Singleton Clusters, a popular clustering method that uses demographic data like age, gender, race, and annual income.

The result is a multi-colored piece of location intelligence that should attract the attention of any digital marketer.

For the most part, residents with similar income levels and racial backgrounds tend to live together.

For example, the “wealthy transplants displacing long-term local residents,” depicted in dark red, are primarily living in the north, which anyone in Chicago probably knows intuitively. However, another cosmopolitan and affluent sub-group, those earning middle income with a bachelor’s degree and mortgages (light red), have pockets throughout the city, an insight that would be easily missed without the map above.

With this map, a digital marketer can micro-target their digital advertising, choosing areas that correspond more highly with their target audience.

Campaign Execution: Use Maps In Your Outbound Digital Content

With the wealth of location data available, digital marketers can now define areas where their customers go (sometimes called catchment areas) down to the level of a city block.

This level of data gives marketers running proximity marketing campaigns a new level of granulatity.

Instead of making arbitrary decisions about what your geofences should look like, use maps with actual data about your current / prospective customers.

For example, the area below Houston Street in Manhattan is only a few square miles, but, as the map below shows, it contains neighborhoods that are predominantly high poverty, hispanic and black, multilingual, and renters; white and minority mixed with mid-level income; and wealthy transplants.

Besides being a necessary tool on the back-end, maps are also a critical part of your direct communication with customers. Incorporate location intelligence into your email and social media campaigns to drive engagement and shares.

For example, CityLab, a subsidiary of The Atlantic Media company devoted to telling the story of the world’s cities, has found that, on average, their maps page sees more engagement and shares from their 2.2 million unique monthly visitors than any other type of post.

Campaign Evaluation: Proving ROI of Digital Advertising

Every digital marketers knows their least favorite words: “But what was the ROI?”

ROI is notoriously difficult to measure (and often miscalculated), but maps and location intelligence can help.

Digital marketers typically need to show how their online advertising influenced people to take an action, like making a purchase. The good news: most purchase information has a location component, giving marketers the ability to demonstrate correlation between geotargeted advertising and georeferenced sales.

In the example above, we created a map showing 25 mile radius target ad areas for an ecommerce company. We then aggregated the sales within those areas during the time period that the digital ads were running.

This gave the marketing team a clear way to show correlation between marketing spend and total revenue, proving to executive management that their digital campaign was, in fact, a success.

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Whether you’re just beginning to plan your digital marketing campaign or trying to prove success, using maps, location data, and location intelligence will provide the tools you need to take your digital marketing campaign to the next level.