Using Mobile Location Tracking

Location tracking can be an incredibly powerful way to target messages to segments of your user audience. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

First, identify how accurate location tracking needs to be to meet your messaging goals. For example, you may wish to target by precise local area, or when a user is within close walking distance of a specific location. Or, simply use the user's city, state, or country. Based on your decisions, if you are collecting more detailed location data than Mobile's default IP address tracking, you will need your app developer to configure your app to send this data to Mobile in order to have it available for segmentation and messaging. Note: With the new iOS approximate location permission option, iOS no longer supports geofencing. If you rely on geofencing, you may need to adjust your campaigns.

IP Address

For City, State and Country level tracking, use IP Address tracking. This happens automatically with Mobile and there are no steps to be taken to get this information.

IP Addresses can be compared to your phone number on the Internet. Just like +1 310 123-4567 might represent Los Angeles, CA , an IP address also usually correlates to the physical location of the connection.

GPS Tracking

Asking for permission

GPS Tracking can locate a user with the accuracy up to a few meters. When using GPS on iOS and Android, the user is prompted to allow your app to get the user's location. This is a crucial on-boarding step in your app and, generally speaking, the better you inform your users about your use of location tracking, the  greater chance users will grant your app permission to use their GPS location.

Accuracy vs Battery

GPS Tracking has levels of accuracy by which a developer can specify when setting it up. However, be aware that the higher the accuracy, the greater the impact on battery life. It's best practice to only use the level accuracy you need. Location is updated when there is a significant change for that particular accuracy, or by a specified distance moved.

Foreground vs Background

Location can be updated in two different ways: only when the app is open or whenever the app is open or closed. Consider how accurate you need the data to be. The most common practice ensures accuracy of location to be as accurate as the last time the user opened the app.

If you wish to collect location information in the background, this will impact the battery life of your users. iOS will continue to prompt the user for permission every few days. Users may opt out or  into location tracking and  will appreciate consideration for their privacy and battery life.


iBeacons are for tracking relative location, that is to say "near" a point of interest. They can track almost down to the half meter depending on setup. Unlike GPS, beacons are best used in background mode, as proximity to a location can be used to trigger a message.

For example: Walking past a retail store might prompt a message with a daily special or deal. Beacons require Bluetooth, which uses less battery than GPS, but is still noticeable. Again, it is a best practice to make the user aware of the request for location tracking by GPS to allow for background updates.

iBeacon vs Beacon

iBeacon is beacon technology that is owned by Apple. The name "iBeacon" has become synonymous with beacon technology in general, as it is widely used.

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