As a buyer, you should know about the sources of location data and assess their suitability for analysis and your specific use case. With an increasing demand for location data, providers are focused on offering high volumes. Unfortunately, this takes away from the quality, and bad, misleading, and even fraudulent data have become commonplace. Low-quality data leads to incorrect analysis and eventually bad decisions, even with the most sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence. Buyers, therefore, should have a good understanding of what constitutes good data. Let us consider two of the main sources where location data comes from Bidstream and SDKs.


Bidstream data is collected from bid requests in programmatic advertising. Every time you use an app on your smartphone and an advertisement pops up, it routes back data such as device ID and IP address to the ad servers. Bidstream, even though offering high volumes, is considered one of the lowest-quality sources of location data.


Location data is derived by capturing the GPS signals of a mobile device via an SDK installed in a mobile application. A location SDK can be installed by any app publisher into their app using a few lines of code. This SDK collects the user's real-world location when they use the said app on their mobile phone. SDKs collect high-quality GPS location data with a given indication of the level of accuracy of the signal.

The data economy is full of such low-quality data, especially when dealing with location data. Providing the highest-quality location data should be the goal of data providers, and so this is an issue close to home for those of us playing this role in the industry - an issue to be taken seriously.