The privacy folks are about to have a whole lot of new things to worry about.  We’ve all been cyber-stalked by ads following us around the internet.  Publishers put a pixel, in most cases, on their website that tie into their ad network buys.  This allows them to track where else we go on-line and serve up ads to try to lure us back to their websites.

The new trend is mixing in GPS data from where we’ve gone.  The location data is courtesy of our cell phones that pinpoint our locations.

That means when you visit a particular store, the marketers will know and be able to send ads to you – just like if you went to their website.  The flipside is effective as well.  If you went to a particular store, advertisers from competing stores can target you as well.

The most common application to date has been mobile geo-fencing or geo-conquesting.

In geo-fencing, advertisers buy a radius around a particular location.  It might be a restaurant that serves up coupons within a 5-mile area around their location, or a car dealer looking for more business from a particular area that has a special offer for people in a specific area code.

Geo-conquesting is a bit like buying your competitors’ keywords in search.  Advertisers target a radius around their business.  So when you’re looking up prices on-line while at the furniture store to see if you can get a better deal, you see ads for the competition to try to lure you away.

These practices can be effective.  They’ve mostly been limited to mobile campaigns.  Now that data will be more available on all platforms.

The power of marrying where you’ve gone on-line, with where you’ve gone physically, and your credit/purchase history can be an incredible target marketing tool.  It’s also open to abuse.

Of course Amazon has been mixing purchase data with web traffic for years.

Snapchat buys Placed

Snapchat’s parent company has purchased Placed, a company that track real-world purchases and store visits.  It plans to use the company to further its ability to track social ad campaigns to store traffic and in-store purchases.

User’s can opt out if they wish.  You can always turn off location-enabling for apps in iOS and Android, but it’s not off in the default position.  For social, turning it off also disables the ability to check-in, geo-tag a photo, or add a location to a post.