Why is data important in marketing?
With almost seven out of 10 online experiences starting in search engines, it’s no wonder that digital marketing is expected to make up to 46% of all marketing in 2021. As more businesses turn to the internet to bring in new leads and increase conversions, the importance of understanding and tracking digital analytics is clear.
Google Analytics is one of the most important tools available for gaining valuable insight on who is on a website and what they do once there. Location information is important for anyone trying to target a specific geographic location, but how accurate is the available data?
Location Data Accuracy
Google Analytics location data is pulled from IP addresses, which are a virtual address, rather than a physical location. Because of this, location data isn’t always 100% accurate. Here are a few reasons why:
- Google often pulls IP addresses from third parties. Because IP addresses can be reassigned, they are not always “static”, making this third-party information less reliable.
- Some third parties default to a central location of a region if further information is not available. For example, if an IP address only gives “USA” for the information, the third party will default to the center of the region (the continental United States), Coffeyville, Kansas. This is why there are large, unexplained numbers of users in cities like Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
- Virtual Private Networks or VPNs are becoming increasingly popular. VPNs disguise a user’s location, showing the location of servers that are usually housed in large cities like Houston, Seattle and New York.
- Cell phone settings can also hinder location accuracy. For example, “low battery” mode can keep a user’s location from updating and can even limit the data to just a city or region. Users can also opt out entirely from location tracking for apps or websites through their operating systems.