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Brands want to know where I’ve been. Here’s why I’m ok with that.

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Apparently the blog, “Ads are annoying as F#!k. There I said it,” was well received and I have been entrusted again to give you my thoughts.

So, let’s talk location data.

Have you ever been asked by an app for permission to use your location? WELL, if you have not, congratulations...or should I say my condolences.

Depending on who you talk to, allowing apps, and sites to know your location sure sounds scary, but it can actually be a good thing.

Location Services menu
Location Services in an iPhone

To begin, a “sparknotes” definition of location data is essentially the information that describes the users current location. Location works by calculating the latitude and longitude of the users location. At first it can be kind of scary to think that a company can see your exact location, which is a fair point, but after exploring what the data is used for, it is not as scary. Growing up, my parents warned me to be very careful about allowing companies to know my location. This is a fair point, consumers should be aware and guarded of their information. But there has been a shift in the last couple of years, companies are becoming more transparent about how and why they are using your data. Thus the analogy of the monster under your bed can be applied. The unknown is always scary, but after the covers are pulled away, the fears are replaced with reality. And the reality is, location is being used to help you.

So where does this leave us, I have put together a few takeaways of why allowing apps to know your location is actually a good thing:

  • Without allowing an app or site to have your information, the offers that you receive as the user becomes irrelevant. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to miss out on real-time last minute sales at my local mall because I turned off my location data. Without location data turned on, I am left getting ads that are not relevant to where I am leaving me missing out.

  • Another reason to have your location data on is so you don’t miss out on events that are taking place nearby. Location data keeps you in the loop of things happening around you. Don’t miss out on that pop up taco food truck. Keep location data on.

  • Allowing location data to be on also can make your life easier. This is because apps like The Weather Network and Google Maps are able to know where you are to better serve you with more up to date information. Instead of always having to type in your general location, the app can pinpoint your exact location providing you with the most accurate results. Just last week, I had checked the weather in the morning to determine my outfit for the day. However, I did not have the location settings enabled and ended up basing my clothing decision on the weather in a different city. The whole day I was waiting for the weather to reach the 25 degrees that I was promised in the morning; however, Toronto’s temperature never got above 13 degrees. It was a chilly mistake, that I won’t make again.

  • Finally, if you love to shop and score deals, location data can track a history of where you’ve been and how often you go there. Scary right? WRONG. This historical data can help retailers and other businesses to target you as a loyal customer and open offers that are exclusive to your shopping habits, likes and offline behaviours. Perfect for saving money, now I can by some more wacky pants!

If you’re still out there spending your hard earned dollars on brands that should be doing more to cater to your loyal shopping needs, than perhaps being a bit more giving with your data can do the trick. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result. Their profitable results and ability to retain our interests relies on customer data that we need to be willing to give in exchange for that personalized touch. It basically comes down to this: The more information about us we give, the more personalized the experience

Giving brands who are transparent about opt-in and data collection a chance to know who you are is key and we as customers have a part to play in ensuring that brands get a chance to know who we are and what we like so they can deliver us the ads we want to see in a timely manner.


Lilianna Scanga is an office intern at APEX Mobile Media, and is in her 2nd year at Western University studying Media & the Public Interest. Lilianna has been working with the APEX team for the last two summers. 



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