How to use Telco Data to Profile a Retail Audience?

Retail customers have never lived in a more connected world, and they’ve never been more in need of that connection in order to shop. Online grocery boomed during the pandemic. According to FMI-The Food Industry Association’s Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2020 report online sales tripled in the early part of the pandemic as food retailers ramped up the already growing e-commerce side of the business. In the hyper-competitive world of retail, providing meaningful digital experiences for customers has become a key advantage. 

Telco data offers retailers a powerful opportunity to identify, target and measure their consumers based on their online and offline behaviour. We work with a number of retailers across multiple campaigns, and this blog will explain how we’ve recently integrated telco data into those campaigns to profile bespoke retail audiences.

The pandemic was a huge societal moment for British retail. Almost the entire UK population  had their circumstances changed, and that has changed the way people shop. This resulted in a huge boom of online ordering up 96% according to Kantar with eCommerce now accounting for some 13% of all grocery sales in the UK, up from 7.4% in March 2020, which demonstrates a longer-term trend continuing when shops reopened post-lockdown.

With consumer predictability a thing of the past, more than ever before retailers need to understand how their customers move about their day-to-day world. With this understanding and insight, a retailer is then able to target and engage them in the relevant moments that matter most.

Powered by 20 million signals

Using our unique relationship with Skyrise Intelligence, we are able to profile the real and digital behaviour of 20 million UK mobile telephone users. Using declared contract data and passively collected web and app data, we build tailored audiences for an individual retailer. 

We are able to understand the hobbies and interests retail audiences have along with other brands they show affinity for. We use this to craft high-quality bespoke retail audience profiles based on demography, affluence and location. 

For retailers, a key differentiator of telco data, is that we are able to profile app usage including which competitor apps an audience is using. With almost every retailer now offering online ordering via an app, this dataset offers obvious opportunities for competitor conquesting both online and offline. 

Not only is the data passively collected, it’s collected continuously. This gives us a complete and accurate understanding of a retail audience’s online behaviour by hour and by day.

How is online data used with physical store data?

We map each audience nationally against 35,000 residential clusters (averaging 1,000 people in each) and select the highest indexing postcodes for each audience. We analyse the density of the target retail audience in each cluster by hour of day, surfacing the optimal times and locations to reach them. These audiences are then mapped to residential and non-residential locations, by comparing whether they over or under index within areas across the UK, at any point of the day or night.

Retail Audience Data

Can you use proximity marketing?

Absolutely. We’ve a number of use cases where we’ve used proximity targeting. We helped a retail chain using Skyrise Intelligence to identify audience clusters within 2 miles of a retail store. We segmented users, and activated against them when in proximity to the store to promote offers, engagement or conquest messaging. To increase awareness or when promoting delivery services we would look to broaden activity outside of the immediate store vicinity. 

Using hyper location-targeting we can go even more granular. We have the capability to target locations down to 5 metres. This is often used in campaigns where competitor retailers are clustered nearby, and granular targeting is needed. We are able to draw bespoke polygons down to 5 metres in radius, all activated in real-time. This will allow us to support a retailer by being front of mind, demonstrating to a customer  how to get there, driving footfall from those closest to store or by conquesting competitor customers:

Typically a supermarket retailer has a catchment area of 10km, although obviously this varies. Using geofencing tactics, we collect users who have been seen within a retailer or competitor stores within that catchment area, by collecting device IDs. We then reaccess them for engagement at a later time, usually when they have more time to interact, such as when we see them connected to home WiFi network.

Use Dynamic Creative to highlight location call-outs

By incorporating location data, retailers are able to create tailored messaging based on unique conditions of a specific shop location.

Store-specific elements like sales and discounts, proximity call-outs, store directions, and other bespoke calls to action such as click-and-collect or third-party delivery can be dynamically added into ad inventory to give retailers the best return on investment. These ads typically have higher engagement and CTRs because incorporating real-world situations (e.g. location) and real-time considerations (e.g. weather) makes them more relevant and a more engaging digital experience.

These tactics are especially relevant for the pandemic-impacted retail landscape. Calling out 24 hour opening and special location features like click-and-collect, outdoor dining or curbside collection can help answer customer questions they didn’t even know they wanted to ask.

How to measure success?

We generally recommend the inclusion of a brand study for retail campaigns. This allows us to measure the effect of the campaign on increasing awareness, consideration and intent. With Skyrise’s access to on-device data such as app ownership and usage, we can also measure both of these variables, mapped to campaign timings. This helps demonstrate any direct uplift in app usage as a result of the campaign and understand any halo-effect too.


The covid pandemic has changed the retail landscape and shopping habits have changed forever. With people more focussed on the experience than ever before, retailers need to provide customers with meaningful digital experiences through their advertising. 

Telco data offers retailers a powerful opportunity to create more engaging campaigns. By  understanding how their customers behave both online and offline they’re able to identify and target more meaningful engagement with a bespoke retail audience.