How to Use Location Data as a Competitive Intelligence Tool

Gain a new competitive intelligence tool by leveraging location data.

Competitive intelligence – gathering and analyzing data on your competitors to drive business decisions – can have a truly transformative effect on a business. With a deep understanding of the competition’s customers, marketplace, and strategy, enterprises can identify opportunities that might otherwise be difficult to recognize.

Some potential business use cases of competitive intelligence include:

  • Identifying new revenue opportunities.
  • Creating detailed, comprehensive customer profiles.
  • Developing targeted advertising campaigns and attributing results.

Location data, while not widely used for competitive intelligence today, can provide key insights that help businesses learn about competitors and their customer base.

Location intelligence involves information on consumers and the locations that they visit. Data is gathered based on an individual’s physical movements through the world, and, over time, supplies information on their habits, activities, and interactions in the community.

Related Reading: What is Location Intelligence? (And How Can Businesses Use It?)

Location data that includes event data overlay provides an additional layer of information – for example, knowing that a person was in a public park gives you the where, but verifying that they were there to attend a classical music concert provides an additional perspective, rounding out the customer profile.

3 Ways to Use Location Data for Competitive Intelligence

A recent study found that 82 percent of marketers are already using some form of location intelligence to improve business models. That means that the majority of marketers see the value in understanding how customers behave in the real world. However, it’s unlikely that the same percentage is using location data as a competitive intelligence tool.

That’s a major opportunity area for businesses. Unlike online behavioral data, which involves simple, low barrier to entry tasks, location data tracks real-world behavior, providing a higher degree of consumer intelligence. The best location data gives you the physical world ‘where’ and ‘when’, with event overlay that includes the ‘why’.

Those combined, actionable insights can be applied as a powerful tool for competitive intelligence in many ways. Here are three of the most common that consistently net strong ROI results for businesses.


Do you know how many people are visiting your competitors’ locations? What about where they go before and after? Location intelligence can tell you. Location intelligence companies will monitor activity at competitor locations, focusing on foot traffic broken down by unique and repeat visitors. The resulting foot traffic data provides information on the number and type of customers that constitute the competition’s customer base.

Location data will also show other locations consumers visit, giving insight into patterns of behavior, habits, and interests of your competitors’ customers. Distinguishing consumer behavior patterns can lead to unexpected insights that can greatly improve your business. For example, determining that customers have to travel out of their way to visit a competitor’s location may inform your own decision to expand into a different neighborhood.


Research from Accenture found that 77 percent of all consumers admit to being less loyal to a brand than three years ago, and 61 percent have switched some or all business from one brand to another in the past year. Customers are becoming more receptive to change, and businesses can use location intelligence to capitalize on that fact.

Location intelligence makes it possible to directly target the customers of a competitor and reach them in the right place, at the right time, with a message that will drive results. While monitoring your competitors, location intelligence companies can identify pseudonymous consumers who visit your competition. They can then provide that information to your business in the form of advertising audiences, which allow you to deliver ads directly to your competitors’ customers to increase market share.

Location intelligence can also help improve other, less direct methods of targeting competitors’ customers. For example, knowing that the majority of the competition’s customers frequent a dog park may lead to a cross-promotional opportunity, such as sponsoring a community event. In both situations, location intelligence provides the insight needed to target the competition’s customers and convert them to your own.


Creating lookalike audiences bridges several of the ideas discussed above, including creating profiles of your competitors’ customers. Because location data tracks your competitors’ customers to other location, it helps determine their interests and identify patterns. Location data helps you identify characteristics such as:

  • Interests – your competitors’ customers may love dogs and shop at health food stores.
  • Brand affiliations – your competitors’ customers may love Toyota cars.
  • Visit patterns and distance traveled – your competitors may shop every Tuesday and travel five miles to your competitors’ store.

Developing a comprehensive, thorough picture of the competition’s customer base allows an enterprise to identify lookalikes: similar consumers that are likely to be interested in their own products and services. Campaigns can target those individuals, creating a focused, data-driven method of expanding the customer base with likely candidates.

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Expand Your Location Intelligence Use Cases

Despite the fact that the majority of enterprises are leveraging location intelligence in some form, it’s still widely underused for competitive intelligence – perhaps due to the difficulty in gathering and ensuring the accuracy of location data.

But that shouldn’t be a barrier to growth. Third-party location intelligence providers often offer competitive intelligence analytics that can be personalized for different business goals, including research on foot traffic, the creation of conquesting campaigns, or identifying lookalike audiences.

Third party providers are also well known for the breadth and accuracy of their location data, making it more likely that enterprises will receive actionable insights that they can use to drive results.

Look for a provider that’s willing to talk through their collection, cleansing, and contextualization strategies. Many companies will even personalize competitive intelligence services to your needs, helping you get started and see ROI faster.

Real-World Location Intelligence

Gravy Real-World Location Intelligence Overview

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