A beloved memory from most people’s childhood was scanning through pages upon pages of people stacked on top of each other. That’s right, we’re talking about those good ol’ Where’s Waldo? Books. If you were “really good,” you could find Waldo in a matter of minutes but for most, it would take a good chunk of your time to find the striped fellow. 

Spending time trying to find something is the last thing that people want to do nowadays–both consumers and business owners. Geolocation developed thanks to this thing we all know of as supply and demand. Not only does it cater to our high-speed needs as s society, but it offers awesome ways to harness the internet and grow your business. 

What is geolocation?

You’ve likely heard the word before, but few know what the heck geolocation actually is. Basically, geolocation is the process of finding, determining, and providing the exact location (sometimes) of a computer, mobile device, or some other type of electronic equipment connected to the web. We say sometimes because there are always hiccups in the data collection process, but for the most part, it’s pretty accurate. 

Geolocation data is gathered based on the geographical coordinates and measurements (latitudinal and longitudinal location) of your device or computer–not you. To simplify this even further, if a website wants to know where one of their visitors are, it will gather geolocation data on that user. 

Are there any geolocation data privacy concerns?

Now before you freak out, there are obvious privacy precautions that are taken such as these listed below: 

  • Visitors must allow location detection on their devices for each and every application. 
  • When visiting a website, the site must ask for the visitor’s location. 
  • Google Chrome 50 only allows geolocation API to work over secure website connections (for example, websites that have a little latched lock next to their web address rather than the unlatched lock. It should also say https:// rather than http://). 

So, no one is trying to stalk you necessarily (that we know of). The leaders of the internet (Google being one of them) is trying to keep you and your users safe and secure, which is why it’s so important to make sure that your business’s website is secured with an SSL certificate. If you’re unsure of what that is, you honestly don’t have to worry about it if you have a digital marketing agency that can manage important details like these. 

Our Fresno web hosting management services cover loads of things including domain management, IT support, and most importantly, SSL certificates. It’s our job to make sure your users feel uber comfortable giving you their geolocation so that you can better specify their needs based on their location. This helps develop a stronger and considerate approach to your customers and can totally transform your marketing plan in the best way.

Which way is the best way to gather geolocation data?

There are two different ways to gather geolocation data from users: device-based and server-based data collection. Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to make sure that the data being collected is accurate 100% of the time, but one may work better for you than the other depending on your business.

Device-based data collection

As you may be able to tell by its title, device-based data is accumulated from mobile devices. This means that cell phones, tablets, smartwatches, and even fitness trackers are considered geolocation devices. 

This is probably the most accurate way that data is collected because most people have their devices on their person. However, it’s not unlikely that someone may leave their phone somewhere and the data is being collected in that location rather than where the actual user is. 

Also, it’s important to note that the more populated the area is, the better the data will be. Metro areas and large cities have the most triangulated device connection because everyone needs it and everyone’s using it. In contrast, more rural areas have fewer people and less cellular connection which may cause the data to be inaccurate if the connection cuts out for any reason.

Server-based data collection

Again stated in the title, server-based data is accumulated by a server or an IP address that’s connected to the Wifi or ethernet. So, this data is based on computers in a stagnant address, which doesn’t seem that helpful but it can be for companies that are interested in international users. 

This data can pinpoint country locations really well. However, it’s not the best if you’re looking to see which cities your users are in or visiting.

Combining the two

Because many companies try to experience the least amount of gap in data that they can, they’ll usually implement both types of geolocation data collection. Hopefully, one will overlap the other and give them the most accurate information possible.

How can you use geolocation for your business?

Geolocation is used in so many ways, it’s almost hard to count. Video game developers use it to create realistic virtual games based on your geolocation (remember that whole Pokemon Go phase). Every day people use it to plot trips and find nearby stores. We can “check-in” on social media and tag businesses (*hint hint* that’s great for marketing!) or even check the weather based on our location. Believe it or not, the government and police even rely on geolocation to monitor ankle monitors and investigate crimes that have to do with technology. 

Still, the real question is what can geolocation do for my business?

Here’s an example….

Ultimately, geolocation provides a huge opportunity for businesses to get to know their customers based on their location. We’re going to tell you a quick story from our Operations Manager. She used to be a business owner before digital marketing was a huge thing and even she saw the growth potential in paying attention to where her customers were located. 

Her business was locally owned in the Central Valley, but she had very far and few competitors in the Fresno/Clovis area. So assumingly, she didn’t do much advertising in different areas because it seemed as though she had no other competition to worry about in her immediate location. 

However, when she decided to pull the paper customer list, she found that an overwhelming amount of her customer base was located in Sanger, a neighboring town. As it turned out, Sanger did not have a business like hers at all, so people would travel to her store. 

Now imagine if she had geolocation capabilities at the beginning of her business venture! Not only would she be able to pinpoint and focus her marketing there to grow her customer base, but she wouldn’t have wasted any time trying to market to locals.

How can we help you?

The example above may not be exactly how geolocation could work for your business, but that is just an example. At the end of the day, geolocation allows business owners to get specific. 

Consumers want to feel seen and making the user experience easier for them by providing a nearby store location or content specific to their location can earn your business major cool points (and hopefully some more revenue).

Even if you haven’t considered it before, it’s important to make sure that your website is even capable of collecting geolocation data by having a secure website. Not only can our IT team make sure that your site is secure initially, but we can keep it that way on top of managing your domain name, hosting service, and help you along the way with readily available support services. When you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, our strategic marketing team can develop a custom plan based on your visitor’s geolocation data to grow your business. 

Feel free to give us a call today to get started! (559) 324-9341.