Hurricane Irma’s Impact on the Location of People and Places

Placed analyzed the location and visitation data generated by residents in the path of Hurricane Irma to gain insights into impacts of what has already proven to be an abnormally active storm season.

 

Foot Traffic to Businesses:  Areas impacted by Hurricane Irma saw quantifiable increases in visitation to grocery stores (2.1x), gas/convenience (1.7x), and pharmacy (1.7x) in the days before expected landfall of Irma. While these visits were expected, unexpectedly visits to Pet Food and Supplies retailers, Diet & Nutritionists businesses, and Sporting Goods stores also saw increased visitation between September 4th through the 7th.

 

Restaurant/QSR locations saw up to 3.7x visitation rates by September 8th as residents began evacuation, or conserved supplies by eating out up until the last minute.  Interestingly, Check Cashing locations saw upwards of 28X the visitation from prior to the hurricane, possibly due to banks being closed and power outages forcing cash only transactions. Wireless retailers also saw significant increases in visitation (1.5x-4x) before, during, and immediately following the storm.

 

Evacuations Before Landfall:  By mapping “away from home” percentages by city by day, we clearly see the alignment to evacuation notices as well as delayed returns for areas where Hurricane Irma caused extended power outages.

 

  • Evacuations Start (Average): 2 days before landfall
  • Population Returns (Average): 3 days after landfall, 5 days after landfall for areas with extended power outages

Distance Traveled:  The metric “distance traveled from home” indicates that the Sept 6th Hurricane Irma path projections, which placed the center of the storm traveling up the Eastern coastline, aligns with the first wave of residents of Miami and Naples opting to leave their home locations and travel distances averaging as much as 260 miles to escape the hurricanes cone of damage.

 

  • Shortest Average Distance Traveled (Pre-Land Fall): 32 miles, Tallahassee Residents
  • Longest Average Distance Traveled (Pre-Land Fall): 295 miles, West Palm Beach Residents

The September 7th announcement of mandatory evacuations for additional cities beginning Sept 8th initiated a second wave of residents departing with Ft Myers-Naples area seeing 73% of residents on the move.

Accurate Location in Limited Supply, Findings from Placed Research

In the same way in which ad viewability was the hot topic issue these past 18 months, Placed anticipates location accuracy to enter into the headlines.  Placed’s research found that on average the accuracy of exchange based locations were on average off by more than 4 city blocks!  Additionally only 1% of bid request are accurate enough to identify store visits.

 

Download Placed’s Accuracy & Bias in Ad Exchange-Derived Location Data White Paper at https://www.placed.com/resources/white-papers/location-accuracy-bias

 

Excerpts from the white paper:

 

Growth in location based advertising is tied to continued growth in mobile usage. Current spend projections for location based targeting are estimated to reach almost $30B by 2020. As spend increases, so will expectations around validating the accuracy of both the location data and the subsequent visitation impact

 

However, there are several well known limitations of exchange-derived location data. First, the

source (e.g., GPS, cell tower, WIFI, IP) and accuracy of a given exchange-derived location data

point is generally unknown without additional validation. Second, given that ad impressions are

served and exchange-derived locations are observed only when the device is in use, there is the

potential for significant measurement bias to exist.

 

High-level results from the location accuracy analysis include:

 

  • The average accuracy of exchange-derived locations is over 4 New York City blocks.
  • After filtering for location accuracy, only 1% of bid requests are useful for in-store measurement (based on a location accuracy < 50 meters).
  • 80% of bid requests are made while people are in between visits—and most of the rest are made at home, limiting viable use of the data for determining store visitation or affinity.

Takeaways from the analysis of bias in exchange-driven location data:

 

  • Exchange-derived locations are only present when the device owner is using the phone and browsing an app that serves ads, thus bid stream data over indexes on location data from Lodging, and Gyms & Fitness Centers– likely due to readily available wifi combined with extended time spent at a given business.
  • Key retail categories such as Fashion, Professional Services (ex. Staples, OfficeMax), Sporting Goods and Computers & Electronics are under-represented in bid data.
  • The skew toward a subset of commercial business categories creates a bias in exchange derived data that requires validation against first party data to ensure corrected weighting.

Most Popular Apps for Clinton and Trump Supporters

The differences between Trump and Clinton supporters extend beyond political view and into the apps that they are more likely to have installed on their smartphone. Utilizing Placed’s double opt-in audience, Placed was able to connect localized voting preferences to apps installed.

 

Using apps as a proxy, Clinton supporters are content generators with messaging and photo apps making up 70% of the list, while Trump supporters are more content consumers with 60% of the list including apps like NFL Mobile, Slacker Radio, Audible, Amazon Music, and Kindle. As it relates to retail, Trump supporters gravitate towards the market leaders with Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, and Amazon, the largest retailer in the US, representing 4 out of the top 10 apps.

 

For both candidates, the most popular businesses in the physical world by candidate preference have very little correlation with their supporters’ digital activities. This separation of offline versus online behaviors even for the same candidate highlights the importance of treating each medium in its own silo, as what works online isn’t necessarily going to work offline.

 

With Trump raising over $26MM in June through online and mail solicitations, it highlights digital as a strong channel to reach his strongest supporters and drive donations. Utilizing this list, Trump can focus fundraising efforts on apps where his supporters are most likely to be found. Clinton’s strength in social applications could represent an opportunity to replicate President Obama’s success in 2012 leveraging social media to drive donations.

 

Clinton Trump Supports Most Popular Apps

Free Burritos Are Driving Chipotle’s Recovery as Measured by Placed

Through a unique combination of location ratings service data and custom survey data, Placed was able to directly measure the change in visits to Chipotle during the frenzy following the restaurant’s E. coli outbreaks.

 

By analyzing location behaviors of consumers sourced from our Placed Insights service over a 13-month period, the data shows a drop in monthly Chipotle visitation that directly correlates with the outbreaks. Chipotle’s share in monthly traffic hit a low of 8.04% during the month of January 2016, a full three months after the first initial outbreak, representing the lowest visitor share over the 13-month period.

 

On February 8th, 2016, Chipotle shut down its nationwide stores to retrain staff on food safety. At the same time, the company launched a campaign to reintroduce customers to the brand with free burritos. Coupons worth a generous total of $70 million in free burritos were given away.

 

The “reintroduction period” with the support of millions of free burritos proved to be a promising tactic as Chipotle’s visitor share in Placed Insights for February and March show a gentle spike. More specifically, the burrito coupons pushed March 2016 visitor share to a level almost as high as that of the previous year (8.81% visitor share in March 2016 vs. 8.86% in March the year prior). Overall, the promotion had a material impact in winning back Chipotle customers.

 

CHI

Digging deeper into Placed Insights data reveals restaurants that benefited from Chipotle’s recent turmoil. In terms of visitor share within the Mexican restaurant category, there were a few notable beneficiaries:

 

Change in Mexican Restaurant Visitor Share, October 2015 vs. December 2015

  • Moe’s Southwest Grill, 5% increase
  • Del Taco, 2% increase

Looking beyond this category, Placed compared two leaders of the “fast-casual revolution,” Chipotle and Panera Bread. Examining overlap in visitation rates through November 2015, Panera Bread visitors were more likely to visit Chipotle than vice versa. However, in December 2015, the visitation points meet, indicating a shift in traffic from Chipotle to Panera.

 

Change in Chipotle & Panera Visitor Share Overlap, October 2015 vs. December 2015

  • % of Chipotle Visitors who also went to Panera grew 7%
  • % of Panera Visitors who also went to Chipotle dropped 3%

 Measuring Perception Across Chipotle Visitors in April 2016

To add some color and tell the whole story behind the numbers, Placed surveyed its audience on their most recent visit to Chipotle to find the ways that public sentiment has changed for the brand:

  • 46% had visited Chipotle within the last two weeks prior to their current visit
  • 19% of respondents cited a free burrito coupon as the primary reason for their visit, while 46% said a craving for Chipotle drove their visit
  • 70% are likely to visit Chipotle again within the next month
  • Over 90% are aware of the E. coli outbreaks, and among those who are aware, 79% visit about the same or more frequently since the news of the E. coli outbreak

Measuring the success of Chipotle’s strategy through free burrito coupons, Placed discovered that visitors who are less likely to frequent Chipotle due to the E. coli outbreaks are more likely to use Chipotle coupons than visitors whose visitation has increased or remained the same:

  • Among those who visit Chipotle less frequently due to the outbreaks, 23% used a free burrito coupon during their visit, which is 27% higher than those whose visits didn’t decrease during this time frame.
  • For coupon users who visit less frequently since the outbreaks, the majority said prior to this Chipotle visit, their last visit was within the last 6 months (29%) or more than 6 months ago (16%)
  • This group of users is also 61% likely to visit Chipotle in the next month

Chipotle’s approach to winning back customers with coupons shows signs of early success with directly measured foot traffic from Placed Insights, and perception metrics from Placed Survey.

Driving (And Measuring) Moments that Matter: BMW Case Study

 

Faced with the pressure of pushing greater sales, BMW needed to drive more potential consumers to its dealerships. However, with only 1.3% of the total Internet population comprised of Luxury Auto Intenders and Endemic Site Visitors, the pool of perspective audiences is limited.

 

In order to reach this niche audience, BMW sought to connect with the right geographic location; it was necessary not only to reach users who have visited BMW or competitor dealerships in recent months, but also reach users near BMW or competitor dealerships in real-time. Constrained by only 339 regional BMW Dealerships nationwide, the challenge was heightened. As a solution, Cadreon developed a programmatic strategy that leveraged data to identify the moments when the niche audience was most receptive to receiving BMW’s message.

 

The process of buying a car sparks emotions that can be influenced to create a connection close to the point of purchase and drive consumers into the dealerships. Using a combination of data and mobile location geo-technology, BMW was able to reach consumers on their smartphones during these moments that matter.

 

With the world’s largest opt-in location panel, Placed was able to measure this emotional connection. Using the Placed lookalike model based on time, geography, OS, age, gender, ethnicity, and income, Placed quantified that BMW’s approach of emotional connection drove physical action, and was able to quantify that the physical action translated into 26.5% lift in BMW dealership visits.

 

Download the case study one-pager here.

BMW