Foot Traffic Data Providers + 8 Ways to Get Foot Traffic Data

Foot traffic data is extremely valuable for understanding customer engagement and managing your business locations. This information can inform which stores to close, and where to open new store locations. Demographics data also gives you much needed insight into how your stores perform in different areas and when serving different customers.

  • 8 actionable ways to get foot traffic data
  • 10 examples of foot traffic data providers with different models

To help you learn how to make the most of mobility patterns data, we’ll tell you the top eight methods of collecting foot traffic data, and then cover the best foot traffic data providers available.

8 actionable ways to get foot traffic data

Analyzing customer mobility patterns is essential for perfecting your retail store design, understanding customer engagement, digging deeper into customer demographics, perfecting your marketing efforts, and determining the best locations to set up new stores.

One of the biggest struggles with footfall data is navigating privacy laws while still gaining access to enough information to produce meaningful insights

Anonymized data can give you demographics data such as age, income, voting patterns, and more, without compromising individual identities. Non-anonymized data connects information directly to individual people, and can contain personal information that makes it unusable by law or by ethics.

To help you leverage mobility data, we’ll explain how to get foot traffic data.

1. Anonymous mobile device tracking data using SafeGraph

Anonymized mobile device tracking data

Anonymized mobile device tracking data offers insights about users with incredible accuracy while avoiding personally identifiable information. SafeGraph, for example, offers aggregated datasets. These solutions work better than physical foot traffic solutions such as video cameras and break beams, which can only track foot traffic at exact locations or within specific areas.

Mobility tracking data offers insights about users’ complete mobility patterns, offering not only movement into, out of, and within your retail stores, but all user movement that they’ve opted-in to. This gives you the ability to draw even deeper, and more meaningful insights from your analytics, and understand customer behavior with greater accuracy and detail. With anonymized tracking, customer data is safe, while offering you valuable aggregate data to leverage.

2. Video camera systems

Video cameras can be used to gather foot traffic data. While this can be done in real-time, it would require manual monitoring, and is therefore more commonly used to collect foot traffic data after the fact

There are a number of shortcomings with counting footfall using video cameras:

  • No means of getting demographics data on the foot traffic being monitored, as you can’t link people to their mobility patterns
  • Real-time data is difficult to collect and use in a meaningful way
  • These systems are expensive to install and maintain, often requiring significant upkeep and repair costs
  • Video solutions are time-consuming to install and manage, and are not the fastest method to adopt
  • Only valuable for monitoring physical locations (which can be good for retail stores)

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition technology enable video camera surveillance to be leveraged even further. AI will enable automated analysis of video camera feed, tracking mobility without requiring manual monitoring. Facial recognition - in certain applications - will enable mobility tracking and deeper demographics data, when users opt-in to certain use cases.

There are a couple setbacks with the current state of this technology. There are legal restrictions around using facial recognition solutions, and the potential use cases. This will require significant knowledge and navigation to be able to leverage facial recognition solutions.

4. Break beams and infrared sensors

Tracking foot traffic using break beams and infrared sensors

Break beams, or infrared sensors, create an unbroken infrared beam at areas where you’d like to track mobility. These are most commonly employed at entrances, exits, and key spots within a location. These systems count every time the beam is broken, indicating that someone has passed this ‘barrier’. This allows you to track mobility to and from (with entrances and exits) and within your retail locations.

Break beams are best suited for tracking foot traffic to, from, and within a physical location, as they are typically installed in doorways. They have to be set up in a specific place, and can only monitor mobility at the locations that these infrared beams are installed. Similar to video camera systems, these sensors do not provide a way to append demographic data for deeper insight into who crossed the boundary.

5. Thermal sensors

Thermal sensors use heat to detect foot traffic. These solutions can be placed with more flexibility than break beams, as they are simply tracking a thermal signature, and do not need to be set up to facilitate a beam. These solutions use very little battery power and require little maintenance. By nature, thermal sensors protect the identity of the people they gather foot traffic for, as individual data cannot be gathered through thermal tracking.

However, this also means you can’t gain demographic information from your data, and will have more limitations on the insights that you can draw.

6. Pressure mats

Pressure mats serve the same function as thermal sensors and break beams, but instead use weight sensors installed in the floor. The premise is the same, whenever a customer steps on the pressure mat, that movement is tracked, allowing you to gain foot traffic data at key physical locations. This can be used at entranceways, and to monitor in-store movement, but only provides counts for those who engage with them and no enriching detail about who those people are.

7. WiFi

Understanding mobily patterns using WiFi network tracking

Businesses can use their internal WiFi to gather foot traffic by allowing guests to connect. Ultimately, any time a user connects, your network will track this. This can be used to track recurring visits if the visitor sets their mobile device to automatically connect to your network.

While this can help you count visits to retail locations, it lacks precision. It is only able to track those that actually connect to the WiFi network, and therefore does not accurately represent the entire scope of foot traffic at that location. 

Similarly, if a visitor has their network set to automatically connect to a local coffee shop that they walk past - but do not enter - regularly, they may connect to the network without actually visiting the location. One advantage of this is that depending on what the mobile user has opted-in to, you may be able to derive where they have come from or what other networks they have joined.

8. Manual tally or clicker counter

You can still count foot traffic the old fashioned way - with a pen-and-paper tally, a clicker counter, or even a stone and chisel. This method is extremely outdated and virtually no business - besides your nephew or niece’s lemonade stand - will still be using it.

It requires a significant amount of manual input, is prone to human error, and doesn’t allow for meaningful analysis in real-time.

10 examples of foot traffic data providers with different models

Purchasing foot traffic data can be difficult to navigate, as footfall data providers collect and sell data in a variety of ways. Below, we cover different foot traffic data solutions, emphasizing the different methods they use to help you find the best fit for your data needs.

1. SafeGraph

SafeGraph point of interest and foot traffic data

Methods available: Anonymized mobile device tracking data

SafeGraph offers a range of datasets made possible by anonymized mobile device tracking and points of interest (POI) data. With over 8 million points of interest and mobility data for those places, you can gain insights into mobility patterns, along with deep insights about the places people go.

Users can purchase data in a variety of ways, including bulk file downloads, an API, and integrations with common BI tools. The SafeGraph Shop makes it easy to filter through and ‘build’ the exact dataset you want. Some SafeGraph datasets are free for use.

2. Veraset

Veraset Movement solution

Image Credit: Veraset

Free trial: No

Methods available: Anonymized mobile device tracking data

Veraset has two main product offerings. Veraset Movement provides anonymized GPS signals that have already been cleansed and validated. Veraset Visits merges raw GPS signal data with places data to analyze which devices visited various POIs, at which times, and for how long.

3. Gravy Analytics

Gravy Analytics website
Image Credit: Gravy Analytics

Free trial: No
Methods available:
Anonymized mobile device tracking data

Gravy Analytics offers data with your privacy in mind. Mobile location data is cleansed, so you don’t have to worry about pre-processing data. Gain access to verified visits, consumer personas, and market trend data for leading companies.

4. Blix

Blix WiFi foot traffic tracking
Image Credit: Blix

Free trial: No
Methods available:
WiFi tracking

Blix is a WiFi analytics solution provider, offering data insights using their CountSmart technology. This solution monitors foot traffic via WiFi networks, tracking those that connect to the network.

5. aspectum

aspectum Predicio foot traffic data solution
Image Credit: aspectum data-on-demand

Free trial: 14-day free trial
Methods available:
Anonymized mobile device tracking data

Aspectum is a geodata and analytics visualization platform that enables data visualization of various datasets and access to data. Their solution lets you gain access to custom datasets and add your own data for analysis.

6. dôr

Dor thermal sensor
Image Credit: dôr

Free trial: No (30 day money-back guarantee)
Methods available:
Thermal sensors

Dor specializes in thermal sensor technology for tracking foot-traffic. These solutions use low battery, and are easier to set up than break beams, offering similar tracking functionality.

7. Bluefox

Bluefox website
Image Credit: Bluefox

Free trial: No
Methods available:
Video camera systems | Breakbeams and infrared sensors | WiFi network tracking

Bluefox is an out-of-home advertising solution that offers multiple ways of monitoring foot traffic, including video camera surveillance, break beams and other infrared sensors, and WiFi network tracking systems.

8. GroundTruth

GroundTruth website
Image Credit: GroundTruth

Free trial: No
Methods available:
Anonymized mobile device tracking data | Point of interest (POI) data

GroundTruth has high-quality data that has been verified by an independent audit. Their flagship product - Blueprints - is a mapping technology designed specifically for contextualizing physical locations.

Alternatively, anonymous mobile device tracking solutions require no upkeep, instead leveraging data from mobile devices. On top of saving on upkeep and setup costs, these solutions offer deeper insights about the users, such as age, demographics, income, and more. Since this data is still anonymized, you can use it for many applications.

SafeGraph specializes in anonymized mobile device data and point of interest (POI) data, enabling you to gain a clear picture of customer engagement at the locations that matter most to you - including your own locations, competitors, and local communities.

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