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Methodology

Our Methodology

Unacast gathers aggregated GPS data from smartphones and mobile apps, with opt-in consent from users (all of our data is privacy-compliant in the markets in which we operate). We then analyze and contextualize the data for purposes of providing accurate location intelligence, which can be used for: advertising, audience segmentation, competitive landscaping, urban planning, and to generally understand people-based movement analytics, such as migration patterns and changes in region-based demographics.

How we collect and aggregate our data

Gather

Unacast gathers aggregated GPS data from +130m smartphones and mobile apps, with opt-in consent from users.*

Extrapolate

As we only capture a share of the US population, we need to extrapolate our data to more accurately represent the total US population.

Correct

Supply fluctuations occur commonly in the location data industry so it is important to distinguish between trends (peaks and troughs) that are naturally occurring versus a result of changes in supply.

* All of Unacast's data is privacy-compliant in the markets in which we operate.

Area Data

The moment a map is published it is already out of date — that’s why we dedicate significant resources to updating and improving our Digital Atlas to reflect an ever-changing world. With a variety of unique scales and perspectives available, we are able to see our location data from nearly any point of view.

Map Brand Locations

Brands + Locations

With coverage of 4,500 brands and 1.5 million Points of Interest, we can uncover patterns for individual locations or whole brands.

Municipal Maps

Municipal Maps

Using data from publicly-available sets, our scales range from individual property boundaries to cities to whole countries.

Map BYO POI

BYO POI

Rather than using our maps, we can ingest your venues and Points-of-Interest to focus on the specific places relevant to your organization.

Strategic Intelligence

The Real World Graph can tell the whole story of human activity using just six different kinds of calculations. Our analytics team strategically correlates and sequences these calculations to help answer common and uncommon business questions.

Capture Rate

How many people in your area visit your venue?

Catchment Area

Where are your visitors coming from?

Cross-Visitations

Where else do your visitors go?

Dwell Time

How long do your visitors stay at your venue?

Foot Traffic

How many people are near your venue?

Visits

How many people spend time at your venue?

FAQs

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How Does Unacast Ensure the Privacy of Data?

We gather data from millions of smart phones across the United States and beyond. We never collect or store any personal data without your explicit, opt-in consent. This ensures the confidentiality of user identity and personal information at all times.

  • IDFA and/or advertising identifier (“Advertising ID”)
  • Location of the mobile device expressed as the latitude, altitude, and longitude of the mobile device and the derived identity of the location, such as a fast food restaurant
  • Mobile device operating system and operating system version
  • Mobile device make and model
  • The name and version of an App
  • Other metadata associated with the mobile device, such as network type and IP address
  • The category of the App that collected data (i.e. casual gaming, weather, social media)
  • GPS horizontal accuracy value
  • If the App was in active use or in the background when data was collected
  • The speed at which the device was traveling
  • If the device was being charged at the time of data collection
  • The direction that the device was traveling
  • If the device is connected to a WiFi or cellular network
  • WiFi SSID (network name) or BSSID (MAC address for the router)
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Who can use this data and how?

Unacast’s data feeds are used by a range of industries, including for investment in real estate and equities, by retailers for site selection and measuring foot traffic at stores, by the public sector to plan public spaces and key infrastructure, by logistics companies to inform warehousing and transportation, and by the financial industry to inform alpha, detect market shifts, and measure portfolio risk. Find more information about our use cases.

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How often is the data refreshed?

Unacast offers fresh, high-quality data feeds with dense location data for multiple markets globally. Our Neighborhood and Venue data packages are refreshed every 4 to 26 days, depending on the exact dataset. Our Emerging Areas and Migration patterns data packages are refreshed every 10 weeks, to account for extended holidays, etc.

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How far back does the data go?

Currently, our datasets extend back to Q1 2019. In some instances we have data into 2018, depending on the specific use case. We are continually abridging our models with complementary data sets, so rearview-looking timeframe may extend more accurately into the future.

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How is the data organized?

Each of our datasets has a clearly defined schema that is well-documented for users ingested in our feeds. Read more about Unacast's data accuracy.

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What methods do you use to ensure your location data is representative of the market population?

Unacast uses various techniques to increase the reliability of our insights, including supply correction, bias correction, and extrapolation. Without these, users may end up with phantom fluctuations that skew the location data sets and result in inaccurate human mobility insights. Please see our Methodology section for more information.

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What correlation strategies will you use to enable my use case or achieve my goals?

Correlation can get tricky — depending on which method you choose, you can make data say anything you want. But you want to make sure that the data is telling you the truth, not just what you want to hear. Unacast deploys a team of data scientists to make sure that our data is high-quality and reflects real-world events; and to make sure that the deliverable enables our clients’ specific use cases. We work hard to understand which problems our clients are trying to solve, which questions they’re trying to answer, and which audiences they’re trying to reach before we propose specific solutions.

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How do you measure the validity of your data?

Iteration is the best path to quality. We regularly compare our products to third-party or independent sources to identify where improvements can be made. Unacast employs truth sets such as the number of devices that connected to a venue’s wifi as a proxy for visits. To learn more about how accurate our data is, check out the Ground Truth Analysis of Unacast’s Foot Traffic.