Who’s Keeping their New Year’s Resolutions? The Truth Told by Location Data

The transition into the New Year sees some of the most significant shifts in consumer behavior. It’s the end of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year, which often means making resolutions to improve and change our lives. But just how much does the change in year actually change consumers’ physical-world behaviors? We analyzed Placed location data to find out how the New Year is impacting where people go. The results we uncovered might surprise you.


By aggregating and normalizing data collected from Placed Panels, we were able to determine the places people were more and less likely to visit based on the category’s share of place.  Category share of place is defined as the proportion of visits to a place during January 1 – 14, 2013 compared to the proportion of visits in December 2012.


Here’s a look at the results:


  • In January, Religious Centers captured 70% more share of place compared to December, which one could hypothesize is influenced by people resolving to be more active in their religious communities in 2013.
  • The quintessential resolution to get fit caused Gyms & Fitness Centers to increase their share of place by 23% in the first two weeks of January.
    • The YMCA, Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym saw the largest relative gains in visits during the start of the New Year.
  • Not only were people resolving to take better care of themselves in the New Year, but they were also more likely to take care of their vehicles. Share of visits to retailers specializing in automotive (excluding dealers) increased by 14% in the New Year.
  • Surprisingly, Restaurants, including Fast Food, accounted for a slightly higher share of place in January as diet resolutions seemed to do little in affecting restaurant behavior.
  • Some of steepest drops in share of place among Shopping categories included:
    • Supermarkets & Groceries:  -8%
    • Computers and Electronics:  -14%
    • Discount & Wholesale Stores: -24%
    • Department Stores: -30%
    • Clothing and Accessories:  -43%
  • Perhaps as a result of too many holiday parties and more health-conscious resolutions, the Arts, Entertainment and Nightlife category, which includes visits to bars, clubs, etc., decreased its share of place by 26% in January.

Location Data New Year's Resolutions


This rich location information into consumers’ actual physical-world behavior gives companies new competitive intelligence to gauge performance against their entire industry and specific competitors. For instance, Kroger could determine if a decline in store traffic in January is an industry trend or isolated to their stores. Knowing this can fundamentally change their approach to driving store traffic and increasing sales.


Further, understanding the ebbs and flows of consumer behavior creates actionable insights for retailers. The 14% uptick in activity to automotive stores (non-dealers) identifies an opportunity for retailers such as Walmart, Costco, and Sears to capture share of place by strategically running promotions for their auto services and supplies.


Placed is changing the way location data is understood by providing transparency into the migratory patterns of consumers. With this intelligence, companies can better understand trends within their industries, gauge performance against specific competitors and look for new opportunities to leverage shifts in consumer behavior to drive people into stores and through the checkout lines – helping marketers uncover new sources of revenue in the New Year.

How Location Analytics Can Help Increase Mobile CPMs

Adweek’s recent article, Mo’ Traffic but No Mobile Money, took a look at the mobile CPM challenge plaguing publishers. Even with mobile traffic skyrocketing and smartphone adoption continuing its steady climb, mobile ads still struggle with low engagement, less sophisticated advertising technology and limited screen space, keeping mobile ad prices well below those of their desktop counterparts.


Perhaps the biggest hurdle for publishers though is the lack of metrics currently available to make the case for greater mobile CPMs. As the Adweek article states, “For publishers to justify more mobile investment, the industry needs better metrics, most argued.”


While on-device metrics are important in moving mobile CPMs higher, many publishers often overlook the value of location context that is inherent and unique to the mobile platform. Try to remember the last time you saw someone pull out their laptop while shopping, now try to remember the last time you DIDN’T see someone browsing on their phone in the same store – get the point?


Answering the where in the mobile audience equation has the potential to unlock a wealth of consumer insights to help build the case for greater mobile ad rates. The ability to know and quantify the stores, restaurants, businesses and categories that mobile users are nearby when engaging with publisher content creates a whole new layer of context (and value) for advertisers looking to bridge the gap between the offline and online experience.


In a recent case study, we highlighted how one news publisher was able to increase mobile CPM rates using Placed Analytics location data. Here’s a brief recap of the strategies they used to achieve better mobile ad rates:


Increase Mobile CPMs with Placed Analytics

  • Identify new categories to prospect:
    The publisher saw that 36% of usage occurred nearby restaurants. However, restaurants made up less than 10% of total ad sales. Using this data point, the sales team was able to identify restaurants as a top prospecting category and use location data to back up their pitches.
  • Optimize ad delivery by day and time:
    The publisher discovered that their users were most often nearby department stores on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons, so they decided to optimize the delivery of retail ads to reach visitors during the times and days when they were most likely shopping.
  • Selling to new advertisers:
    The sales team was able to use location data to secure a new supermarket advertiser. Being able to show that 10% of mobile usage occurred nearby that supermarket’s stores, as well as how much activity occurred near competitors’ stores, and which markets had the most competitive behavior helped justify higher rates for access to its more qualified audience.

As 2013 gets underway, improving mobile monetization is set to be a key theme for publishers and advertisers this year as both seek ways to leverage the small screen for big advertising gains.