With Covid Insights Tracker, GroundTruth Looks to Democratize Location Data

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How people interact and move about within their local communities has fundamentally changed since Covid-19 restrictions went into place. As those restrictions loosen, brand marketers are asking where local foot traffic is showing higher density so they can choose the right places to place their out-of-home messaging.

The location data firm GroundTruth recently launched a tool that’s designed to answer some of those questions. GroundTruth’s new Covid-19 Insights tracker gives brands a way to track foot traffic down to the zip code level. The tracker is updated daily, with the ability to search for daily foot traffic across a number of categories, like auto dealers, banks, restaurants, and retail.

Data comes from the 30 billion annual global visits GroundTruth observes on its platform. The company uses indexed foot traffic to demonstrate the relative increase or decrease in visits to different places of interest, with weekly and daily charts depicting foot traffic indexed against average weekly/daily visits starting from December 30, 2019.

Using this data, marketers will be able to develop insights into how the ongoing pandemic is impacting the U.S. economy and disrupting daily life based on real-world mobile patterns. The company is also looking to give marketers a way to rely on location data to implement mobile advertising planning going forward as social distancing restrictions dissipate.

“As states begin to reopen, the tracker gives users insight into local, state, and county foot traffic and consumer movement that are true indicators for predicting patterns as people start to re-emerge,” says Dan Silver, vice president of marketing at GroundTruth.

With research showing that Covid-19 has resulted in shifts in the ways consumers shop and engage with brands, GroundTruth is looking for its new tracker to fill the need for fast, accurate, and responsible insights at the hyperlocal level. Silver says the tracker also allows businesses to make better decisions about which hours they should staff for and how comfortable people in certain communities are with returning to more normal behaviors.

“For SMBs, access to localized data as granular as the zip code level can help them base their marketing strategies on accurate and reliable data,” Silver says. “As communities depend on different types of tourism and businesses to thrive, it is important to have an overview of where people are gravitating as the public reaches increased comfort levels for travel.”

Silver sees mobility data as a potential window that businesses can use to peek in and monitor patterns of consumer movement. That insight is important, he says, because as states begin to reopen, that doesn’t necessarily mean economic health will follow. Ultimately, that will be determined by consumer mobility and comfort.

“While the lifting of state restrictions could impact some industries differently, the trend and patterns that can be tracked will be essential to not only ensuring the safety of the general public but also offering businesses insight that will allow them to rebound more efficiently,” Silver says.

Take, for example, the town of Greeley, Colorado. Although Colorado Governor Jared Polis has given restaurants the green light for in-person dining, many establishments are close to empty. Businesses that weren’t prepared for how hesitant people would be to return for in-person dining might have staffed back up to pre-Covid levels, not realizing that people wouldn’t be there when their doors reopened. With trackers like the one from GroundTruth, SMBs and brands can anticipate patterns of consumer movement so they can order the right amount of supplies and bring back the number of employees they’ll actually need.

GroundTruth’s tracker can also be leveraged across channels to boost advertising performance. With digital out of home, for example, there’s the need to understand where local foot traffic is showing higher density, as that can help decide where to place messaging.

For mobile, specifically, Silver says GroundTruth’s tracker can help brands make better forecasting and planning decisions.

“Understanding how behavior starts to trend can help marketers get in front of their decision making,” Silver says. “Mobile ad performance comes down to relevance, and if we can help marketers tailor their targeting to the proper audience, their messages will resonate even better.”

Silver says the goal in developing the tracker was not just to offer a vanity foot traffic dashboard, but to actually build something that would be actionable and meet each community’s varying needs.

“We wanted to offer this to people to be able to use at a customizable level to ensure it meets many needs for advertisers and business owners at a critical time,” Silver says. “But also to allow the data to be downloaded and ingested against any proprietary data brands or business had.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

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.