Using Location Data to Engage Consumers on St. Patrick’s Day

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St. Patrick’s Day is the most popular day of the year at most Irish pubs and restaurants in the U.S., but the biggest crowds might not come together in the cities you would expect.

According to data from the location intelligence firm Gravy Analytics, the No. 1 Irish bar in the country isn’t located in a city with a large Irish population, like Boston, New York, or even Chicago. The busiest Irish bar in the country is actually located in Atlanta, Georgia.

To come up with its list of the top 50 Irish pubs and restaurants, Gravy’s data science team analyzed the highest average daily consumer attendance at venues from July 2017 to January 2018.

“While bars understand that St. Patrick’s Day brings in a crowd, and jewelry stores know that Mother’s Day means higher sales, this is the first time that it’s proven through data,” said Gravy Analytics CEO Jeff White. “Our data exposes the relationship between events or holidays and consumer behavior—both expected and unexpected.”

Five of the top 10 Irish bars in Gravy’s analysis are located in Florida. While it could be that the Irish pubs and restaurants at the top of Gravy’s list have incredible marketing and advertising strategies to draw customers in, there also appears to be a correlation between high foot traffic and temperate weather.

The top two most frequented Irish bars in Gravy’s analysis were Fado Irish Pub in Atlanta and John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Coral Gables, Florida. The average highs in Atlanta and Coral Gables during the month of March are 66° and 81°, respectively. For comparison’s sake, the average highs in Boston and Chicago during the month of March are 46° and 45°.

One Boston pub, Ned Devine’s, did appear in the top 5 on Gravy’s list. That could be thanks to the pub’s reputation as a popular pub-turned-nightclub on the weekends, or because it’s a hot spot that hosts a lot of special holiday events.

For marketers looking to spend their ad dollars wisely, Gravy’s analysis demonstrates why taking a blanket approach might not be the smartest option. Marketers shifting their ad dollars toward the locations most likely to see high numbers of people—particularly on busy holiday weekends, like St. Patrick’s Day—are likely to get a bigger bang for their buck.

“When brands understand where people go and what they do there, they can create advertising and marketing campaigns that connect more profoundly with their target audiences—and perform better,” White said. “Events-based location data captures how people live their daily lives, and we make it accurate and actionable for campaigns.”

Insights from location data related to consumer behavior on holidays and major events can also help brands better understand their customers’ needs, likes, and wants, White said.

“Where consumers spend time—at a clothing store, bar, concert, museum—reveals macro trends about a target audience’s cultures and lifestyles, but also micro trends about neighborhoods, niche purchasing and behavioral patterns, brand and even political affinities,” White said. “Ultimately, what consumers do and where they go is who they are. Event-informed location data is the best way to capture consumer [and] human experiences.”

In the seven years that Gravy has been providing clients like Walmart, eBay, and Gannett data on consumers’ attendance of events, White said he’s seen a shift in the way brand marketers understand online behaviors and generate purchase patterns. It wasn’t very long ago that marketers had very little understanding of how people live their daily lives.

“It was an enormous blind spot for marketers,” he said. “Location data gives us insight into consumer activities and interests in the physical world. The events we attend and the places we visit fill that void.”

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.