Brands usually think that in January and February we're hitting the gym, avoiding the pub and eating more healthily. However, although we all want to keep up these good behaviours at the start of the year, is that really happening?
Our behaviour is getting harder for brands to understand and predict. Digital means that we're always just a few steps or clicks from the next best deal from a different brand. The retail landscape today, where we view a product in store before researching it on mobile and then compare it to other products on the market, means that our true path to making a purchase is more complex than ever before.
As a result of people shopping in this slightly convoluted way, brands need to serve experiences that engage consumers at the point when their need, or intent, is highest. This is the only way to offer people something more valuable than a competitor, and ultimately be more successful in obtaining custom. To achieve this, brands need to understand more, and gather insights to give a better indication of what is the right experience for someone rather than rely on 'finger in the air' guesswork alone.
Location insights can give brands a good understanding into real world audience behaviour. This is because it is based on anonymised visitation data points that measure customer footfall in the real world, rather than using assumptions about how people are behaving.
For example, it's unlikely someone would be at a gym if they weren't really trying to either get fit, lose weight or maintain a good level of health. A gym visitation measured by location shows a commitment to get healthy far more than search and social insights do. People could be sitting on their sofa researching the date for a half marathon but never actually sign up and train for it. In this sense, location says a lot more about someone than just where they are, it's a strong indicator of intent and the most honest version of you.
Location also reveals some really interesting insights about when behavior changes. For example, we looked at foot traffic in gyms, health stores and restaurants between 12th December 2016 and 29th January 2017. We found that visits to gyms throughout the UK in January increased by 31% compared to December overall, however visits began to plateau around 16th January, and by the following week visits to all the type of places that tempt people to break their resolutions (such as pubs and restaurants) started to increase again.
When brands have true insights like this they can serve experiences that are more relevant. For example a fast food store may recognise an audience trend of increased visits to a near-by gym, and serve this audience with ads detailing healthier options like salads and smoothies. It's about making brand/consumer communication smarter and helping people get to a better place.
Another reason brands are tapping into location for their marketing is because they need real tangible results. Events such as Brexit means CMOs need solid measurement into how their advertising campaigns are performing. They want to understand how their online activity is affecting sales on the high street and need to be able to show value by providing vital business insights that boost the bottom line.
Ultimately, consumer behaviour is becoming predictably unpredictable. If brands keep guessing, they're likely to turn consumers off their brand. They need to deliver the right messages at the right time and cannot risk alienating consumers with irrelevant communications. Location insights are helping brands create better ad experiences by sharing timely communications based on context.