Consumer data fuels ROI and is the basis of every marketer and advertisers decision. Digital marketing has powered data’s compounding importance in the marketing world. Options like re-targeting and layering in first-party and third-party data helps to paint the picture of a user’s intent to purchase. But how deep have we gotten with intent data?

There are many challenges when trying to apply intent data into the analysis process including; limited headcount, inability to integrate data into targeting technology, complex attribution models, false acquisitions. And possibly the most overarching problem is, how do we get intent data from in-store purchases? Intent data is optimized for online attribution funnels. For a company like amazon, each search or page load builds the story of a consumer’s intent to purchase. But for companies that look to drive in-store conversions, intent data is harder to come by.

In-store smartphone usage has helped to bridge this gap. In a March 2015 study by DigitasLBi, 85% of smartphone owners worldwide said they used a smartphone while shopping in a brick-and-mortar—up from 72% in 2014. As more Americans continue to access their phones while browsing the aisles of brick-and-mortar stores, there is a wealth of intent data that is going uncollected. Enter beacons. You have heard from previous MSM Monitor posts about beacon technology. Facebook Place Tips is a new service provided by the data behemoth that looks to pair beacon technology with in-store sales.

Place Tips will be a feature built into Facebooks mobile app that will learn consumer’s in-store habits. Should adaption happen on a large-scale, Facebook would be able to push ads to users based on where they are located in the store, but more important than push ads will be the new supply of data. Ideally, Facebook will be able to use this data to determine how long people spend in the clothing section before picking out a shirt, or how much time they spend looking at coffee pots. Couple this with, first-party sales data and we now have the ability to get intent data from in-store sales.

Other companies have sought to use beacons to revolutionize the mining of in-store intent data. Deep in the headquarters of Redmond, Washington headquarters of Microsoft, lives the Microsoft Retail Experience Center, a mall-like showcase used primarily for research. In there they are beta-testing ways to develop in-store heat maps to see where consumers are spending the most time. Mining this type of in-store behavior will help businesses change layouts, product placement, etc.  Furthermore, it will provide marketers and advertisers with the intent data they have yet to incorporate form in-store sales.