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Navigating the Future: A 2024 Guide to Points of Interest (POIs)

Welcome to our guide to Points of Interest (POIs) for 2024. Discover what they are, their value, applications, and more!

7 min read
- Published on
March 1, 2024

QUICK SUMMARY

Points of Interest (POI) data refers to the geographic representation of physical locations on a map. Common POI types encompass public areas such as parks and metros, commercial or residential locations like retail stores or apartment buildings, and landmarks such as museums or parks. This data serves to enhance predictive analyses, streamline decision-making processes, and yield smarter business outcomes with reduced time and resource allocation. Its primary function is to facilitate informed business decisions through data-driven insights. Regardless of industry sector—be it Retail, Marketing, or FMCG—POI data offers versatile applications to grant companies a competitive advantage. However, the effectiveness of POIs hinges on factors such as data accuracy, quality assurance, and reliable user-generated content, underscoring the significance of selecting the appropriate data provider. As the industry transitions away from reliance on cookies, the relevance of POI data is poised to escalate, offering invaluable insights to assist companies in comprehending user behaviors and activities more comprehensively.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Navigating the Future: A 2024 Guide to Points of Interest (POIs)

If being better informed about how location insights can help your business understand its consumers with deeper insights was on your 2024 bingo card, then you're on the right page. 

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This article will provide a comprehensive guide to POIs to help you get started in the world of geospatial intelligence.

Understanding POIs

To understand POIs, let's start with a definition. We’ve talked about POIs plenty, but a small refresher is always handy. And besides, this is a guide blog.

Points of Interest (i.e., Place of Interest) data is a geographical representation of a physical location on a map. The most common POI types include public areas (parks, metros), commercial or residential locations (like retail stores or apartment buildings), and landmarks (like museums or parks).

What’s the value of POIs

Think of POIs as a label that describes a physical location considered important or useful to users on a map. They encompass a range of physical locations, like restaurants, landmarks, hotels, tourist attractions, and petrol stations. They are gathered and categorized in several ways, including data mining, manual curation, and machine learning algorithms

But how do they power well-informed business decisions?

POIs are data, and data is king. Corny tagline aside, it’s used to improve predictive analyses, streamline decision-making, and drive smarter business outcomes in less time and with fewer resources. It’s supposed to make business decisions easier through valuable insights. 

It does this by providing spatial analysis. POI data can be used to provide spatial analysis, like hotspot identification, clustering, and density estimation, to uncover meaningful patterns and trends. With regards to market research, it can give you insight into consumer behavior, preferences, and trends based on physical real-world location data. It allows you to develop POS-level action plans through foot traffic analysis which leads to reduced operation costs, increased ROI, and better service quality. There were two too many two letter acronyms in that sentence. 

Moving on, the value of POIs is best showcased when applied to use cases. So, let's explore in detail on how POIs are applied in different industries, and what competitive advantage they bring.

Applications of POIs

Points of Interest data is invaluable in various industries, especially those that want to leverage geospatial data insight to make informed decisions. Here's how it's applied in Retail, Marketing & Adtech, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), and general Data Analytics:

Retail

  1. Store Location Analysis: Retailers use POI data to analyze potential locations for new stores based on factores like foot traffic, competitor proximity, and demographic characteristics. 
  2. Competitor Analysis: Retailers can identify competitor locations and analyze their strategies, pricing, and customer base to gain a competitive edge. This allows them to plan marketing campaigns near competitor locations, and evaluate where to launch a new store if they’re looking to expand. 
  3. Customer Segmentation: POI data can be analyzed along with customer purchase behavior so that retailers can segment their customers effectively and tailor marketing strategies accordingly. 

Marketing & Adtech

  1. Location-based Advertising: To bolster their marketing efforts, advertises use POI data to target ads based on consumers’ physical movements and interests, like displaying ads for a restaurant chain to users who frequently visit similar establishments nearby. 
  2. Geofencing Campaigns: Marketers can create geofences around specific POIs (like a retail store or a stadium venue) to trigger targeted ads or promotions when users enter those geofenced areas in real time. Moreover, these location-based campaigns can be triggered based on the time of day to ensure that they are optimally effective at ideal periods of the day. This is a cost-effective way of providing tailor made communication between the user and the company at the right place, and at the right time. 
  3. Attribution Analysis: POI can be used by marketers to measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns by correlating ad exposure with physical visits to relevant locations. This allows them to assess strategies in improving visitation and driving traffic to specific locations.  
  4. Personalized recommendations: In the territory of hyper localized marketing, POI data along with user preferences and activities can be used to provide personalized recommendations of products and services to a target audience. 

FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods)

  1. Distribution Planning: FMCG companies use POI data to optimize distribution networks by identifying high-traffic areas and strategically locating distribution centers, warehouses, and retail outlets. 
  2. Demand Forecasting: Points of interest data helps FMCG companies understand consumer behavior and predict demand patterns. Such actionable insights enable them to accurately manage inventory and production planning.
  3. POS Foot Traffic Analysis: POI data can be used to identify the most profitable locations to sell products. Mobility data and demographic insights are used to understand the market around the area of interest in order to evaluate its growth potential. FMCG companies can take stock of the consumer behavior and how they are likely to evolve. This lets them plan their inventory and merchandise distribution with geospatial data insights.

Challenges in the World of POIs

Data Accuracy and Completeness

Securing accurate and complete data for Points of Interest presents a challenge, particularly in areas where information is scarce or infrequently updated. This task involves accessing various databases, public records, and occasionally relying on user-generated content. This bleeds into the next challenge.

Categorization, Standardization, and Quality Assurance

POIs are inherently dynamic, representing information about businesses, landmarks, or events, which change frequently. They’re like revolving doors. That revolving nature requires the need for ongoing monitoring to maintain data consistency over time. Therefore, quality control and regular maintenance are imperative.

Continuous validation and updating of the POI dataset is essential to provide users with the most up-to-date and relevant information. Given their diverse nature, standardizing categorization takes time and effort to ensure they are all properly sorted.

Reliability of User-Generated Content

User-generated content, such as reviews and ratings, can be great for enriching POI information, but they can equally be terrible. It introduces issues of quality and reliability due to individual biases. Therefore, verifying and validating user-contributed content is crucial to uphold the integrity of the database. 

The Future of POIs: A Cookieless Future?

By the end of 2024, Google and its Chrome browser will be parting ways with third-party data and cookies. This means online third-party data will be limited in building profiles. With cookies dwindling use, physical location data will play a crucial role in filling the void.

As showcased, POIs provide a great number of insights into user behavior. User movement can be employed to assign and segment customers, providing a deeper understanding of user behavior. Unlike web browsing data, location data offers insight into a user's actual interest in a company and its products based on foot traffic. This kind of customer data has greater reliability because while people browse the web and web stores out of curiosity, visits to physical stores serve as a stronger indicator of interest.

Echo Analytics and POIs

As we look ahead towards a cookieless future, there is no doubt that POI data insights will have a center stage position as a big data source of information. As we are a POI data provider with geospatial datasets, our goal is to help businesses leverage these insights and information to empower them through 2024 and beyond.

Whether that’s for bettering your understanding of customer behavior to run cost-effective marketing campaigns, or identifying competitors near focus areas to understand market currents. Our goal is to help simplify your access to clean, precise, and verified business information through curated commercial worldwide POI data.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading our 2024 guide to Points of Interest. Read more about mastering POI attributes to see how you can unlock location insights with Echo. And of course, get in touch with our team to learn more about our non-PII and GDPR compliant data, and how it can give you the best intelligence.

Author
Marc Kranendonk
Content Manager
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