Canada Post Introduces Location-Based Audiences, the Ability to Leverage Mobile Tracking for Direct Mail Targeting

New offering lets marketers leverage mobile phone tracking data to provide insights into where consumers spend their time along with the ability to target them with direct mail at home.

Canada Post Introduces Location-Based Audiences, the Ability to Leverage Mobile Tracking for Direct Mail Targeting

Canada Post continues to bring its customers innovative data solutions that provide marketers with new types of data with which to target households or prospects via direct mail.

Its new Location-Based Audiences offering leverages third-party mobile phone tracking data from Pelmorex to provide data insights into where geographically consumers spend their time. This geographic mobility data can be used to select segments and identify postal codes with higher propensity toward certain consumer behavior.

Mobile phones with location services turned on are assigned to home postal codes based upon their location during sleeping hours. As the phones, and their users, move about to places of interest such as stores and other locations, the data is collected, analyzed and segmented.

This gives the ability to create location-based audiences by ranking postal codes based on established criteria such as the propensity to visit certain locations. Direct mail can then be used to target the highest ranking of these postal codes. Postal codes (FSA LDU) are already the smallest clustering of households available, so with this mobile data overlaid onto them, hypertargeting of households with desirable attributes is enhanced.

There are three types of location-based audience segments available.

Behavioural Segments: These are segments of mobile phone users who, based upon where they visit, exhibit certain types of consumer behavior desirable for many marketers to target. For example, the Coffee Enthusiast segment is composed of users seen at a coffee shop 2x or more in the last 7 days (Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Country Style, etc.).

The full list of available behavioural segments can be found in this spreadsheet. Custom requests can also be made of Canada Post.

Brand Segments: These are mobile phone users who have visited a location of a specific retail Brand. For example, Best Buy visitors are users tracked at a Best Buy location 1x or more in the last 30 days.

The full list of available Brands can be found in this spreadsheet. Custom requests can also be made of Canada Post.

Canada Post suggests that this segment approach can be used to target users of Brands competitive to yours or even to identify households who are frequent visitors and loyal to your own location.

Location Type Segments: Rather than digging down to specific Brands, this segment type allows targeting based on a classification of location types. For example, bookstore visitors are users seen at a bookstore 1x or more in the last 30 days. Other examples include automotive service centres, children and infant clothing stores, furniture stores, jewelry stores, or theatres.

The list of all available location types can be found in this spreadsheet. Custom requests can also be made.

How to Use Location-Based Audiences

Canada Post is expecting that marketers will excitedly embrace the availability of this new kind of data and we’ll soon see a plethora of direct mail efforts that use it creatively.

Like all data-based targeting, this is about relevance. It’s best to start by asking yourself how these location-based segments and your business might be relevant to each other. What locations by type or Brand would your customers or prospects be more likely to visit versus other locations and when, or how often?  Conversely, consider if a consumer’s visit to an identifiable location has relevance to your business and its offerings that you can leverage.

For example, an ecommerce provider of household furniture and accessories might wish to try postal codes with a higher propensity to be Home Décor & DYI enthusiasts (behavioural segments), or visitors to floor covering and furniture stores,  home centres, paint & wallpaper stores, and window treatment stores (location type segments). The idea might be to make an offer that allows such folks to possibly add on to a recent retail purchase or find something they have not been able to find at retail.

Because of direct mail’s power to command household attention and elicit action, it is the ideal way to capitalize upon the insights that location-based data provides. It can be leveraged through Personalized Mail (direct to household, addressed usually by name) and/or Postal Code Targeting (direct to household at the postal code level, but without any specific addressee). It can also be blended with other geodemographic, lifestyle and interest data that Canada Post makes available.

While relevance is key, you need to approach the messaging in your direct mail piece carefully to be respectful of people’s concerns with privacy. Never say things like “Your recent visit to Best Buy” or anything else that would alert the recipient to the possibility that their activities are being observed. Remember that the data does not indicate knowledge of a specific household’s activity. Rather, it is aggregated data and indicates only that the postal code in question had a higher incidence of that activity compared to other postal codes.

Using this new location-based data is a strategic choice, as is the use of direct mail itself. It can help you make better, more relevant connections with both prospects and your customers.

If you’d like to explore how this and other data can be leveraged in your business to create powerful direct mail campaigns, invite us to spend some time with you! Send an email to