Placed Connects Voting Patterns to In-Store Visits

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If this election cycle has taught us anything, it’s that the country is divided. Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t just differ in their political views, but also in the places they shop. According to a new study by the location analytics firm Placed, there was zero overlap in the most popular businesses for Trump and Clinton supporters to visit.

In order to come up with these results, Placed tracked the offline behavior of roughly two million opted-in consumers. The firm started by determining whether the audience lived in a county that voted Democrat or Republican, and then assigned the party’s primary winner to the consumers in that area. From there, Placed was able to measure the businesses associated with those voters to determine whether they were more likely to visit specific stores compared to the U.S. population as a whole. Placed found that Clinton supporters were most likely to visit Citibank, ShopRite, and TD Bank, while Trump supporters were most likely to visit Sheetz, Kangaroo Express, and Hardee’s.

“Audience is more than demographics, it’s offline behaviors, and this research shows that businesses do correlate with voting patterns,” said David Shim, Placed’s founder and CEO.

Political campaigns have long relied on big data to market themselves to voters, but retailers and other marketing firms can use this type of detailed location analytics to generate highly targeted campaigns, as well. It’s a topic that Carol Davidsen, a former director of integration and media analytics at Obama for America, discussed in detail at Street Fight’s Local Data Summit in 2014. By connecting visitation patterns with candidate support, Placed is effectively giving campaign leaders a map to where they should focus their fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

“Insights and analytics are just the first step, then next is actionablity,” Shim said. “How do you use this data to change voter behavior?”

In addition to finding the businesses where Clinton and Trump supporters were most likely to visit, Placed also identified so-called “swing businesses,” where support between Clinton and Trump was evenly split. Voters who visited these businesses, which included Meijer, Famous Footwear, and T.J. Maxx, could ultimately determine who wins this year’s presidential election, Shim said.

Bernie Sanders supporters had very different location patterns than Clinton or Trump supporters, presenting yet another opportunity for both candidates to reach a new set of voters in the physical world. According to Placed, only one store — the supermarket chain Shop and Stop — showed up in the top 10 businesses visited most frequently by both Sanders and Clinton supporters. Otherwise, there was no overlap in the groups.

Text message marketing is already playing a large role in this campaign season, as CodeBroker CEO Dan Slavin pointed out in a Street Fight article earlier this year, but what Shim is suggesting goes far beyond using SMS/MMS to get the word out about upcoming appearances or ask for donations, and it has implications for the world outside of politics, as well.

“In this instance there are opportunities to leverage location based advertising, OOH, fundraising, and voter registration,” Shim said. “These are the same challenges and opportunities that marketers encounter when leveraging location and analytics to drive consumers into the store.”

Placed’s double opt-in audience now represents 1 in 200 U.S. adults. With an audience that size, Placed is able to generate nearly a billion first-party latitude and longitude coordinates on a daily basis. The firm uses these coordinates to measure store visits.

By taking a multi-dimensional approach to audience, marketers can open up additional opportunities to measure, target, and ultimately change consumer behaviors.

“Measurement of the physical world is still in the early innings,” Shim said. “Location analytics represents a greenfield opportunity for those who adopt early and often.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.