Location Data

Real-world intelligence to inform business decisions such as marketing and advertising, real estate selection, and growth strategies.

The Growing Market for Location Intelligence

The global location intelligence market size was valued at $8.12 billion in 2016, according to Grand View Research. It is predicted to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15.3% from 2018 to 2025.

That growth is driven by the rapid adoption of location-based data and services by both businesses and consumers. For consumers, location-based services are now the norm, with most consumers expecting content and services tailored to where they are and, by association, what is relevant to their location. Navigation, restaurant selection, and augmented reality apps are just a few examples.

As consumers opt-in to products, services, and apps that generate location data, enterprises gain valuable information on consumer habits and preferences that they can use to improve communication and business decisions.

What is Location Data?

Location data is raw information on where consumers go. It is typically collected from opted-in mobile devices by the applications, products, and services that consumers use.

Typically, when businesses purchase (or collect) location data, they get access to a variety of information, the main component of which are the locations mobile device users have visited in a certain time period.

Raw location data could include:

  • Anonymized mobile ID or mobile advertising ID
  • Latitude and longitude
  • Timestamps
  • Mobile device information

You may also like: What is Location Intelligence? (And How Can Businesses Use It?)

Location Data Use Cases and Business Results

Like other data types, location data have a wide variety of uses and applications for businesses. Below are some of the most common, but they are by no means an exhaustive list. In addition to the use cases below, many organizations use location data for industry-specific applications that provide an additional competitive advantage.

Digital Advertising

The most common way of using location data for digital advertising is through advertising audiences. Advertising audiences are targeted lists of anonymized consumers that businesses can deliver ads to.

Each advertising audience targets consumers based on a certain characteristic or combination of characteristics. For example, one advertising audience could target consumers that are interested in wine, which could be determined by using location data to determine how often consumers visit wine bars, vineyards, and wine stores. Consumers who visit wine-related locations often are included in the audience. Another advertising audience may target consumers that are between the ages of 25 and 35, live in New York City, and regularly attend sporting events.

Advertising audiences can be pre-built or custom created to target the attributes that are most important to the business. Once the audience is created, businesses use their AdTech solution to upload the audience and deliver their ads to those specific consumers who are most likely to be interested in their services.

Location data can also improve advertising by providing information on what consumers are interested in, helping businesses fine-tune messaging and offers.

Business Benefits of Using Location Data for Advertising

Consumers are no longer interested in or fooled by flashy advertisements. They want relevant information and offers that cater to their interests. Location data allows businesses to create hyper-targeted advertising campaigns that deliver information to the consumers that are most likely to be receptive to it.

We’ve seen businesses dramatically improve their results by combining advertising audiences with relevant messaging. The most common results are increased click-through rate (CTR), foot traffic, sales, and ROI. For example, L’Oreal saw 320% ROI on a targeted advertising campaign in New York City. Seventy percent of stores that participated in the campaign increased sales.

Foot Traffic Analysis

Foot traffic data is a subset of location data that measures the number of visitors to a physical location. Businesses can analyze the foot traffic to their stores or competitors’ stores identifying the types of consumers that visit them as well as where they go before and after.

Foot traffic can also be captured for a specific group of consumers. For example, Gravy leverages mobile identity matching to help businesses learn more about their customers. Once customers are matched with a mobile device, Gravy can gather information about their foot traffic patterns, providing insight into where customers go in the physical world.

Business Benefits of Foot Traffic Analysis

Foot traffic analysis can help companies understand what their visitors are interested in as well as their behavior patterns. With that information, businesses can make better decisions when it comes to advertising, sponsorships, messaging, and more.

For example, a restaurant could analyze its foot traffic and identify that 65 percent of its business goes to a sporting event before visiting the restaurant. The restaurant could then begin advertising at sporting events or creating post-game specials to bring in more business.

Competitive Intelligence

Most competitive intelligence is built on publicly available market research. Location data allows companies to go beyond that score, getting deeper insights into their competitors. As mentioned above, much of this is built on foot traffic analysis of competitor locations.

Businesses that need competitive intelligence use location intelligence companies to monitor competitor locations or customers. They then track the visits at their competitors’ stores as well as where their competitors’ customers go before and after each visit. After the monitoring period, businesses can analyse the data to build full profiles of their competitors’ customers.

Business Benefits of Using Location Data for Competitive Intelligence

Conquesting campaigns are the most common use of location-based competitive intelligence. In conquesting campaigns, businesses target their competitors’ customers directly with the goal of winning them over and increasing their market share.

Similar to digital advertising, businesses can use location data to create advertising audiences full of consumers who have visited their competitors’. They can then deliver relevant ads to those consumers with promotions that encourage them to switch. The best ads will increase new customer acquisition, resulting in high sales and a strong competitive advantage.

Market Research

Location data provides real-world data on the buying behavior, interests, and trends of businesses’ target market. That information can then be used to enable more effective business growth and strategy decisions.

When businesses use location data for market research purposes, they typically purchase subscription services that continuously monitor a group of consumers, physical location (for real estate selection), or set of competitor locations. Subscription services deliver a large amount of data on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis that companies then feed into their applications.

Business Benefits of Using Location Data for Market Research

Most market research relies on limited-scope sources such as surveys and online behavioral data. That limits the value of the research and also leaves potentially valuable insights undiscovered.

Location data, on the other hand, reflects the real-world behavior of large quantities of consumers. Gravy’s location data is gathered from over 150 million devices and rigorously cleansed to ensure accuracy. That greatly increases the potential scope of the market research, giving businesses a better data set off which to base their decisions.

Customer Intelligence

By understanding customers better, businesses can tailor communication to their interests and needs, creating higher quality content for websites, emails, and upsell offers. But few businesses have as much information as they want on their customers.

Location data can help build that out, using information on where customers go to understand their interests, buying habits, and brand affinities. As they learn about customers, businesses can build out ideal buyer personas and identify lookalike audiences of consumers that are likely to purchase their products and services.

Business Benefits of Using Location Data for Customer Intelligence

Leveraging location data to understand customers can increase revenue and up-sells, as well as improve the customer experience. It can also increase customer retention and market share.

We’ve seen many companies use location data to uncover valuable insights about who their customers are and what they’re interested in. The companies we work with then use that information to identify and target lookalike audiences that are more likely to make a purchase, significantly improving their new customer acquisition strategies.

Data Enrichment

Data enrichment is when businesses add third-party data to an existing set of information, such as customer records housed in a CRM or database. Data enrichment services that focus on location data allow businesses to append visitation and persona data to their records, creating more complete profiles.

Customer profiles can then be used to drive various business decisions, including identifying top customer characteristics and customer-based growth strategies.

Business Benefits of Using Location Data for Data Enrichment

Enriched customer data sets allow companies to improve communication and offers throughout the customer lifecycle, increasing upsell and cross-sell revenue, loyalty, and customer engagement.

Depending on the initiative, data enrichment results in different KPI improvements. For instance, if data enrichment is used to create better, more personalized emails, businesses will likely improve open and click-through rates. If they are used to improve upsell pitches, there will be a more direct correlation to revenue.

Industries Using Location Data Today

Many industries are already benefiting from the use of location data. They’ve leveraging common use cases such as digital advertising and competitive intelligence to increase their ROI and market share.

However, many of these industries also have unique, highly tailored use cases where they can leverage location data to feed their applications.

Below are some of the most active industries using location data today.


The auto industry often leverages tailored advertising audiences to reach consumers that are car and motorcycle enthusiasts, holiday auto buyers, and more. Automotive companies also use location data to identify sponsorship opportunities, research and target competitors, and improve loyalty programs.

Location Data for Automotive


One of the largest users of location data, hotel and lodging establishments often leverage location information for competitive research, conquesting, and audience targeting to bring more consumers to their locations. For hospitality venues hosting events, location data can also help increase attendance and foot traffic.

Location Data for Hospitality

Financial Services

One of the largest users of location data, hotel and lodging establishments often leverage location information for competitive research, conquesting, and audience targeting to bring more consumers to their locations. For hospitality venues hosting events, location data can also help increase attendance and foot traffic.

Location data helps financial services providers identify and target new audiences such as in-market personal finance consumers, new or expectant parents, and families who are sending children to college. Additionally, many financial services and insurance companies use location data for extensive market research, identifying US consumer and market trends that could affect their businesses.

Location data for Finance

Real Estate

Location data helps real estate professionals better understand their area and the consumers in it, so they can find tenants that fit the space. Location data then provides the concrete evidence real estate companies need to sell the lease, as well as helping reduce tenant turnover rates or even increase lease length.

5 Ways Commercial Real Estate Can Use Location Data To Improve Properties


Location data helps restaurants benchmark performance across locations and select the most profitable areas for future expansion. It also helps uncover consumer affinities that can improve menus, promotions, and special events, bringing in more revenue.

Location Data for the Restaurants


The retail industry, especially brick-and-mortar stores, uses location intelligence in multiple different ways. Loyalty marketing, competitor research, and audience targeting are all common. Retailers often use foot traffic data to better understand how many people are visiting their stores, as well as the types of consumers who frequent different locations.

Retail advertising is also a major arena that uses location intelligence. Major companies including L’Oreal, Best Buy, and Walmart have all leveraged location data for advertising campaigns that increased foot traffic, event participation, and sales. Retail advertising audiences are one of the most frequently used products here, helping organizations target shoppers and consumers who regularly purchase fashion items, electronics, and other types of products.

Location Data for the Retail Industry

Travel & Entertainment

Like other industries, travel and entertainment providers leverage location data for advertising, market research, and consumer insights. They also use location data to improve planning and logistics. Venues can solicit third-party providers to monitor the foot traffic at their location, identifying times when there’s likely to be more or less traffic so they can plan accordingly.

Location Data for Travel and Entertainment.

Real-World Results of Location Data

Businesses use location data in different ways depending on their internal initiatives and the KPIs they need to improve. Many of those use cases have resulted in tangible, measurable improvements that have a significant business impact.

L’Oreal Increased Sales with Location-Based Promotions

Beauty brand L’Oreal used location data to increase buzz around one of their annual events. With location data, they were able to directly target New York City women interested in beauty and fashion, resulting in ads with 5X the CTR of standard digital campaigns. Seventy percent of stores participating in the promotion increased overall sales, and the entire campaign saw 320 percent ROI.
(opens in a new tab)”>Read the full case study ->[

L'Oreal Logo

TGI Fridays Increased ROI 600% through Repositioning

National restaurant chain TGI Fridays used location intelligence to reposition themselves as the post-event restaurant of choice for consumers between the ages of 20 and 35. Their goal was to increase foot traffic and grow their reputation, with location intelligence helping them achieve 600 percent ROI and 8X the CTR of standard digital advertising campaigns.

The insights from location data also helped TGI Fridays identify new competitive insights and sponsorship opportunities they can leverage in ongoing marketing, sales, and brand growth strategies.
(opens in a new tab)”>Get the full story ->

Clients & Partners - TGI Fridays Logo

Fizzics Identified 422,000 Consumers for a Holiday Campaign

Fizzics, an enterprise selling a home Draft Beer System through major retailers like Target and Best Buy, used location data to boost their Father’s Day sales campaign. Through location data, they identified 422,000 consumers that love beer and were Target and Best Buy shoppers. The campaign garnered 1 million impressions, with 10.9K attributed actions.

(opens in a new tab)”>See how they did it ->

Clients & Partners - Fizzics Logo

Other Applications of Location Data

The applications of location data in real-world situations are growing. Businesses are using the information to improve marketing and advertising results, select the most profitable store locations, and gain unprecedented insights into market and consumer trends. But location data can also provide other information, such as insights into major events. Below are two examples, although the uses of location data far exceed these.

Holiday Trends
For instance, location data was used to track customer traffic at Walmart and other brands on Black Friday. This information is valuable for identifying customers most likely to buy specific types of products and to ascertain what types of consumers are most likely to shop at retail stores on this big shopping day.

Event Impact
Location data was also used to monitor the effects of the recent U.S. government shutdown. Gravy Analytics monitored changes to fast food locations, retail brands, and hotels in the DC area. Curious about the findings? Download the Overview.

Location Data Sources and Processing

Businesses can obtain location data from a variety of sources, including their own business systems and third-party location intelligence companies. Third-party location data providers are typically the preferred source of location data, because they offer a wider variety of services tailored to business needs and maintain a heavy focus on data quality, including cleansing and contextualizing raw data to make it more useful.

However, like other types of data, raw location data isn’t useful in its raw form. It typically contains inaccurate or duplicate information, erroneous location signals, and is missing the context needed for interpretation. All of these make it difficult for businesses to use the information effectively. The best location data has been cleansed and contextualized.

Cleansing Location Data

Accuracy is the most common concern businesses have about location data. It’s a valid concern, since most location data is inherently flawed. Duplicate signals are common, as are concerns such as hypervelocity (when signals move at impossibly high speeds) or location signals that don’t show whether or not consumers are actually in a store or standing on the sidewalk outside.

To deal with these issues, location data should undergo a rigorous cleansing process that discards poor quality information while verifying other signals. The best cleansing processes use techniques like corroboration and dwell time to determine whether or not consumers were actually visiting a location.

If you’re concerned about your company’s location data accuracy, ask about cleansing processes. If data is collected internally and leveraged in its raw format, you may want to consider working with a third-party partner that has implemented more robust cleansing processes. By getting more accurate data, you’ll put your company in a better position to generate results.

Helpful Resource: Is Your Company’s Location Intelligence Accurate?

Want more information on accurate location data? Read our white paper, Secrets of Mobile Location Accuracy.

Contextualizing Location Data

The vast majority of location data is not contextualized. Companies that collect their own location data know that customers visited a certain location for a certain period of time, but not where or why they visited. The same is true of location data from most third-party providers.

Unfortunately for location data users, context is essential. Without the necessary context, you could greatly decrease the efficacy of your initiatives. Consider a consumer that visits a specific location: without contextual information about the buildings and businesses at that location, you wouldn’t know that consumer visited a stadium. At first glance, we could broadly assume that consumer is interested in sports. But what if there was a wine festival at the stadium when the consumer visited? That context significantly changes the meaning of the data.

The best location intelligence companies contextualize information by overlaying place and event meta data onto the raw location signals. Venue and event information helps explain why consumers visit different locations, providing a more accurate, actionable view of consumer interests and habits.

At Gravy Analytics, we take place and event information into account when building out all our location data products and services. To make your data more actionable and drive results, we strongly recommend you ask any partner you use to do the same.

Gravy Analytics: Location Data Provider

Our mission is to empower businesses to use location data to deepen their understanding of their consumers, their market, and their competitors to improve business growth and ROI.

Every day, Gravy Analytics processes billions of pseudonymous mobile location signals to create its data services, insights, and advertising audiences. We always put privacy first, ensuring businesses get accurate information without sacrificing consumer needs. For more information, get in touch with one of our experts.

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