It is time for FX brokers and institutional firms to revisit GeoTargeting. Here is why!

Finding the right client for the right product in the right place is critical to FX firms especially when bearing in mind the high cost of acquiring and retaining clients. Google’s recent move shows why geotargeting is of more value than first estimated

Just a short while ago, the concept of geotargeting – the practice by which companies track the whereabouts of potential commercial partners or retail customers by feeding push notifications to their smartphone in order to invite them to their office in a very localized fashion, had been a much talked about subject, until such time that it, well, was not talked about anymore.

The idea that a brokerage could send a message to the smartphone of a retail FX trader, a liquidity provider or technology vendor to an a FX firm or a Tier 1 bank to the relationships manager of a prime brokerage to invite them to pop in for a coffee was indeed novel, and had been adopted by firms at such lofty levels as Morgan Stanley, which, on one particular afternoon, sent me a message whilst I was walking in Manhattan, asking if I wanted to join them at their offices for a cappuccino and talk liquidity relationships and counterparty credit in OTC derivatives.

Ultimately, this idea was not embraced by any mainstream FX broker, and traditional methods ranging from low-touch digital marketing to high-touch trading seminars continue to dominate the engagement landscape, as well as non-geographical methods including interactive educational tools and trading signals.

Today, however, an indicator that this may be the time to revisit the geotargeting idea once again has emerged, in the form of Google, which lets face it, owns the internet in the entire world except for China, having stated that it does not matter if a user deletes Google Maps from his or her smartphone, Google will still track their whereabouts.

Many users of Android phones have noted that Google Play is always switching on GPS and now it has become apparent that Google has made it impossible to prevent the app store from tracking the whereabouts of users unless they completely kill off location tracking for all applications.

Users can try to deny Google Play access to your handheld’s location by opening the Settings app and digging through Apps -> Google Play Store -> Permissions, and flipping the switch for “location” but will be met with a messae that explains that it is not possible to turn off individual Google Play services, instead, all location services for all apps will have to be switched off if users want to block the store from knowing their whereabouts.

For Google to go to that extent  means that, far from anything sinister about monitoring the movement of people, the corporate requirement to track the profiles and whereabouts of people globally is of vital importance in order that this data can help firms provide the right services to the relevant people at the right time and in the right place, as well as gain data on who exactly this audience is from their profile information.

FX brokerages can certainly make vast use of this completely free technology.

Acquiring customers today costs approximately $1,200 to $1,500, and the average deposit size of a retail FX trader with a mainstream brokerage is $3,800 (except in the US where it is $6,600) thus the entire customer acquisition cost vs return on investment is a critical point for all brokerages today.

If, however, in areas that are heavily populated with FX brokerages which also have vast daily amount of foot traffic which is largely made up of astute professionals who are investment-savvy and have the income levels that are conducive to trading successfully – London, for example – geotargeting was used regularly by firms to both collect data in order to refine the art of targeting relevant local customers as well as being able to capture their attention when in the right place at the right time in order that they then associate themselves with YOUR brand and its physical presence, this could prove a cost-effective means of having a longer lasting effect with a local audience.

Yes indeed, we are a global industry, but as mentioned by FinanceFeeds before, this is a relationship business right the way down from the Tier 1 banks through the entire execution chain to the retail trader, thus geotargeting is a very important factor which must not be ignored.

Far from instilling Orwellian images of Big Brother, this is a solution to refining one’s audience at low cost.

Even more importantly, institutional relationships between technology vendors, liquidity partners and prime brokerages could certainly utilize this more actively.



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