Marketers are more aware of consumer offline behavior than they would have us think, writes Steven Jacobs, deputy editor at Street Fight magazine.

In a series of essays Jacobs published in 2014, he described how data was impacting the local technology industry; cloud-connected devices were giving rise to increasing information on offline, or so-called “local data.” Local data, notes Jacobs, could potentially assist “local marketers, sellers and economies” to “better compete with the ecommerce industry.” In fact, local data innovation is on the rise with digital marketers, among others, in developing products that are meant to resonate with offline marketers. Key players, such as Facebook and Google, are on board and looking at local data to measure how advertising impacts their properties.

Street Fight, in preparation for its second annual Local Data Summit on March 5th in Denver, Colorado, detailed how local data differs from other information, offering ways in which to understand how these datasets impact strategy in some key sectors. For example:

  • Big Data: In the private sector, the value of so-called “Big Data”—various applications implemented across industries—is widely accepted. Most—3/4—of corporations surveyed either have invested, or plan to invest, in big data initiatives over the next two years.
  • Local Data: Local data refers to information on questions a business or consumer may have when buying or selling goods or services locally. A consumer profile created from online consumer search behavior may let a marketer know about a consumer’s online travels, for example. Much innovation is being seen in local data collection. Take Seattle-based Porch, which raised $65 million in January 2015 for the expansion of its home services site, in part due to local data collection.
  • Web Data: Web data provides information on consumer online activity, but does not typically provide meaningful information about “purchase intent,” for example, to where a consumer visits in the real world.

Street Fight points out that, Marketers may look at consumers’ local shopping behaviors to determine shopping patterns that could be of help in their targeted marketing:

  • Where consumers shop
  • What consumers purchase
  • What purchases consumers plan in the upcoming week

Similarly, for “consumer-facing companies,” data collection on business may include:

  • Which businesses sell what products?
  • For how much are their products sold?
  • Are the businesses “quality” businesses?
  • When are the businesses at their busiest?

Local data is able to expand beyond the Internet thanks to Cloud storage, which enables business to take all of the data—payment data from a vending machine, sales data from a store—and put that information into a database without the worries that surround more traditional data storage. In this way, businesses are able to implement ties between systems without technology issues, according to Street Fight.

Online, everything is in one environment, simplifying data collection and uniting what appears to be unrelated datasets. This enables marketers to measure information that has, until now, gone unnoticed and increasing mobility enables technology firms to tie these datasets. For example, startup Index, utilizes consumer smartphone-generated data to enhance the company’s consumer profile models for retailers based on credit card data. Index also uses mobile devices to deliver applications that put those data to use. For example, in the form of delivery discounts and in-store suggestions.

Marketers are also using mobile location and payment data to create improved local spending attribution models. Last month, Facebook introduced its now attribution product, Lift, which compares user buying behavior. In this case, for users shown an ad against an independent control group, thus enabling Facebook to access offline purchase data through a partnership with Oracle-owned Datalogix. This eliminates the need to rely on users clicking on an ad for an immediate online purchase, notes Street Fight.


Jacobs, Steven. Marketers Know Even More About Offline Behavior Than You Think; Street Fight Magazine. February 5, 2015.