ComScore estimates that over 80% of Americans 13+ owned a smartphone in 2016 and smartphones continue to be the fastest growing technology of the new millennium. The smartphone changed the way users interacted with the Internet. Smartphones created on-demand information, on-the-go entertainment, and instantaneous business communication.
The US dabbled in advanced mobile technology with the introduction of the Blackberry and early iterations of the mobile web, but the landscape changed in 2007 when the first iPhone was released. Apple effectively changed the definition of a computer and created a new generation of technological advancement. Smartphones lit a fire under emerging social platforms and the need for connectedness exploded. Advanced, connected technology is now pervasive in our culture. It is difficult to find new products that can function without an internet connection!
What is truly magnificent about these devices is the data that they yield. Most smartphones only have one user, making them a very personal device. Consumers take their phones everywhere because they rely on them for daily activities like checking the weather, ordering coffee, paying for purchases, and as alarm clocks. A recent Asurion study found that Americans look at their smartphones up to 80 times a day!
Billions of data points are collected from each person every year. A variety of data is collected during each of these interactions including location, time of day, and the user’s activities on the device. These data points create a picture of a person’s daily patterns, where they live, work, shop, what gym they frequent (or not), etc. To some, the collection of this type of data may seem invasive. To marketers, the data can create individual profiles which can be grouped into cohorts for personalized advertising, which many consumers have requested.
Through this data, a new practice called “location intelligence” has been born. Location intelligence uses location data to better understand the consumers of location-based brands; everything from restaurants and traditional retail to car dealerships and colleges. There are three main insights that location intelligence can fuel:
- A Better Understanding of Current Customers
Location intelligence can provide an unbiased look at all visitors to brand locations. Marketers can segment all their visitors to better understand age, gender, household income, lifestyle habits, purchasing habits, and other demographic and behavioral attributes. These insights can be segmented by market to understand how customers differ in different regions.
- Competitive Intelligence
Location intelligence data is collected from consumers and is owned by the location intelligence companies, meaning brands cannot restrict access to their data. This gives marketers unprecedented access to their competitors’ data. Competitive customer and visit behavior analysis can be performed to understand where opportunities are available. Brands can use the data to understand how their promotions shift overall visit behavior and from whom they are stealing share.
- Visitation Patterns
Location intelligence creates a snapshot of visitation patterns for the category, market, or a competitive set. Brands can learn how far customers travel to their locations and how often they visit. In turn, brands can decide which markets would benefit from acquisition or loyalty marketing, or additional locations. The data can show how patterns change by daypart, week, promo period, or weather event.
I challenge you to count how many times you look at your phone today and think about how much marketers could learn from all these interactions. Message Harmelin on Facebook or LinkedIn with your number to continue the conversation!