Geofencing Strategies in Response to COVID-19

Geofencing Strategies in Response to COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, Gravy Analytics adjusted our geofencing strategy to adequately capture the current consumer experience.

Gravy was founded on events, and since its inception, has collected information about millions of events – large and small – happening across the country. Over the years, we’ve added millions of physical places – stores, gyms, salons, hotels, parks and more – not just to understand where events are held, but to better understand how consumers live their daily lives.

How exactly are place and event visits measured? We all know that location intelligence is built off of location signals from consumer mobile devices, but how do we know when a device is at a particular place?

Just as important as the raw location signals that fuel location intelligence are the geofences that surround places of interest. You can think of a geofence as a virtual boundary, or perimeter, around a place. When a location signal from a device is observed inside a geofence, we know that a visit to the corresponding place occurred. To take it a step further, when a signal from a device is observed inside a geofence, and the corresponding place is hosting an event at the same time, we know that both a visit to that place and an attendance to that event occurred.


The novel coronavirus or COVID-19, however, is changing typical patterns of consumer behavior. More people are taking their shopping online to avoid the lines (and other people) in physical stores. Brick-and-mortar stores are adjusting their business models, introducing new products and services while temporarily suspending others. At the same time, live events are canceled, rescheduled for a later date or moved to a virtual format online. (As of March 25, unique visitors to Entertainment destinations  – the single, most impacted category – were nearly 76% below average.) Suddenly, the daily routines of most Americans are quite different.

These changes mean that our existing geofences no longer adequately capture the consumer experience. As such, our team of cartographers has revised its strategy and is now enhancing or creating new geofences, as follows:

  • Adding “Senior shopping” events  – reserved grocery shopping times for senior citizens – at 50+ leading retailers, including Costco, Giant and Safeway
  • Adding events for organized blood drives and donor times
  • Expanding geofences for essential businesses and stores to capture parking lot or drive-thru activity
  • Geofencing additional parks and other public outdoor locations that are likely to see more foot traffic during social distancing
  • Determining which restaurants are open for pick-up or delivery, and adding nearly 2,000 fences for food banks
  • Creating new geofences for new categories of places that matter – like pop-up hospitals or testing sites


By adjusting our geofencing strategy, Gravy can improve the relevancy of our location intelligence to our clients who rely on us for insight into their industry, competition, and customers. We’re committed to ensuring that our data continues to reflect, as accurately as possible, the daily activities and habits of millions of consumers – even through a pandemic.

What geofences would you like to see added to our system as part of our strategy in response to COVID-19? Take a moment to let us know.

How can location intelligence empower your company’s strategy? Talk with a sales representative today to discover Gravy’s location intelligence difference.

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