Your Smartphone Is Not Spying on You


MOJIVA – Contrary to what you might think, geo-location is not used as a method by advertisers to spy on you. Some of the most useful features of smartphones make them indispensable to our daily lives. People depend on their cell phones for so many things. They use it as an alarm clock, for weather updates, to listen to music, access email, take photos and the list goes on. It’s always within arms reach.

Some may say this is the reason why mobile advertising is on the rise, and why some retailers have started including mobile advertising in their marketing strategy. In fact, the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) reported that “72% of businesses are looking to increase their mobile advertising budget in the next two years.” Geo-location is one of the many elements retailers are including in their mobile marketing plans.

Geo-location allows brands the chance to interact with customers wherever they are, but that doesn’t mean that companies can tap into your phone; rather it’s a way for you to receive relevant advertising messages in relation to your location.

The ability of any rich media ad to determine your location is largely based on a number of factors. This can be as general as which state you are in, down to your service area, cellular region, latitude and longitude, or even a specific location if you have a GPS feature turned on.

Rich media ads which use geo-location, like this McDonald’s one created by Crisp, lets consumers enter their local information, such as an address or zip code. From there, a store locator appears giving the customer the ability to choose the nearest McDonalds, which then gives directions to the desired location.

Coffee giant, Starbucks, is an example of another retailer using geo-location. Starbucks launched a new iPhone app that uses the location-based feature by allowing users to find nearby Starbucks stores. Another example is Their app lets users locate the nearest burrito joint, or search for a nearby gas station before their tank hits empty.

Additionally, Subway restaurants have also become a part of retailers jumping in on this mobile trend. The restaurant chain created a mobile app that lets consumers create their food on the go via their phones and then pick-up at a nearby store.

All in all, geo-location is a helpful targeting parameter to utilize, and in this day and age where, we rely heavily on our mobile phones, businesses can (and should) make the move to becoming a mobile friendly company. For more examples, check out the Mojiva Mobile Creative Alliance showcase or schedule a Lunch & Learn to bring a mobile advertising expert to your agency.

Digital Marketing Manager Scott Fiesel contributed to this report. Cross-published at the Mojiva blog.


  1. This article does little to address the topic “Your Smartphone Is Not Spying on You”.

    Other than paragraph 3, which informs that “that doesn’t mean that companies can tap into your phone” (which on it’s own doesn’t justify why not), the rest of the article does little to allay any anxiety of the intrusion of privacy by marketers.

    From mentioning the usefulness of cell phones & apps in our daily lives (paragraph 1), to citing examples of how brands & companies are making use of location-based features (paragraph 5-7), all of this do not explain why smartphones are not “spying on us”. Worse still is paragraph 2, where statistics from IAB’s findings are quoted. Telling the readers how “mobile advertising is on the rise”, and how marketers are starting to use it in their marketing do not debunk the belief that these marketers are tracking consumer activity on their smartphones. In fact, it could actually be getting popular amongst marketers precisely because they get to track their consumers and log their behaviour.

    This is very frustrating, to have been misled by the title of the article into coming to this page and find that it has been beefed up with related but non-relevant content. It becomes very clear what this entire article is really about in the last paragraph: advertising about Mojiva’s services. Very disappointing, Mojiva.


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