In this article, we’ll start by explaining alternative data. What exactly is it? Well, it’s not your typical data. Instead, it’s the kind of information that doesn’t come from traditional sources like financial statements or official reports.
It’s the hidden treasure trove of insights that can provide a more accurate, faster, and deeper understanding of companies and investments.
We’ll also explore why alternative data is crucial in today’s data-driven world. You’ll discover how it’s revolutionizing the way investors make decisions and how businesses gain a competitive edge.
What Is Alternative Data?
Alternative data refers specifically to data that is used in financial analysis but is generated or collected in non-traditional ways.
In other words, it’s information that doesn’t come from conventional sources like press releases or quarterly earnings reports. Instead, alternative data provides a unique perspective by tapping into unconventional sources and methodologies.
What is the importance of Alternative Data?
The importance of alternative data lies in its ability to offer investors a competitive edge. It enables them to access more accurate, faster, or more granular insights and metrics into company performance than traditional data sources can provide.
With the ever-increasing generation of data due to advances in computing power and personal device usage, alternative data has seen massive growth in recent years.
As data becomes more abundant and diverse, a multitude of companies has emerged to collect, clean, analyze, and interpret this data, offering it as a product for informed investment decisions.
This growing significance reflects the changing landscape of financial analysis, where traditional data sources are no longer sufficient to gain a comprehensive understanding of companies and investments.
How is Alternative Data Generated?
Alternative data is a goldmine of insights that can revolutionize decision-making across industries. But have you ever wondered where all this alternative data comes from? In this section, we’ll unravel the mystery behind alternative data generation, exploring its diverse sources.
These unassuming devices play a pivotal role in collecting alternative data. Satellites orbiting high above, mobile beacons scattered around, surveillance cameras keeping watch, and WiFi hotspots connecting us all—they are the pillars of data collection.
Sensors primarily capture geospatial information, offering details like local weather conditions or multi-angled imagery of a place. They can even track foot traffic in specific areas, shedding light on consumer behavior and preferences.
It might come as a surprise, but your everyday activities are rich alternative data sets or sources.
Every time you post a comment on a social network, leave a product review on an e-commerce site, take a survey, visit particular websites, or simply download and use specific mobile apps, you’re unwittingly contributing to the world of alternative data.
These non-transactional actions provide valuable insights that businesses and investors can harness.
Companies generate a treasure trove of data as they go about their daily operations. It often serves as a byproduct that can benefit investors and other businesses.
For instance, credit and debit card companies meticulously track transactions they facilitate for specific businesses. When you make a purchase, businesses may send you email or paper receipts, and each of these is a data point that can be tracked.
Companies also generate public-facing data on their websites, such as prices, sales figures, or stock levels, which savvy investors can leverage.
Exploring the 5 Main Types of Alternative Data
From tracking transactions to deciphering human mobility patterns, alternative data sources are rich and diverse. Let’s dive into the five main types of alternative data to grasp their significance and potential applications.
People engage in buying and selling activities every day, and this transactional data is a goldmine for analysts. While some companies publicly disclose this information through their websites or earnings reports, many transactions occur discreetly.
However, alternative data providers have innovative ways to access this valuable data. For example, tracking a company’s sales and transactions can be achieved by monitoring email receipts sent to customers after a purchase.
Additionally, numerous transactions take place through third-party companies, such as financial institutions or payment processors, leaving behind a trail of anonymous and aggregated debit card, credit card, and online account transactions.
Human Mobility Data
Human mobility data provides anonymized insights into people’s movements within specific geographical areas over defined timeframes.
This type of data encompasses critical details, such as the places individuals visit, the number of visitors, dwell times at each location, and even entry and exit points. Understanding human mobility can be crucial for various applications, including urban planning, tourism, and risk assessment.
It helps in deciphering traffic patterns, predicting footfall at specific locations, and even optimizing transportation systems.
Point of Interest Data
Point of Interest (POI) data offers valuable information about non-residential places that people may be interested in visiting.
These locations can range from iconic landmarks to everyday commercial establishments. Attributes associated with POI data typically include hours of operation, price ranges, brand affiliations, product or service classifications, street addresses, and contact details.
This data is invaluable for businesses looking to understand consumer behavior, identify potential markets, and optimize marketing strategies.
Property Details Data
Property details data delves into the specifics of land parcels and any structures built on them. This comprehensive dataset encompasses information on property ownership, financial aspects such as leases and mortgages, historical sales records, and assessed property values.
It can also include detailed specifications of buildings, including square footage, room counts, HVAC specifications, construction materials, and more. Property details data plays a pivotal role in real estate, facilitating property valuation, investment decisions, and market analysis.
Demographics data provides aggregated insights into the characteristics of people residing in a particular geographic region. This includes data on age, ethnicity, gender, income levels, employment status, marital status, and educational attainment.
Demographics data is a valuable tool for understanding the lifestyles and spending habits of a population.
It helps businesses tailor their products and services to meet the needs and preferences of specific demographic groups. With this data, you can make informed decisions about market targeting and product development.
The Top 7 Alternative Data Providers
We introduce you to our top eight alternative data providers, each offering a unique treasure trove of information to help you make faster, more accurate, and more creative financial decisions.
Major data types: POI, property, transactions
Key use cases: retail investment, consumer insights, risk assessment, real estate site selection
Let’s start with the market leader in global Points of Interest (POI) data – SafeGraph. Their Places and Geometry datasets provide detailed information and building footprints for millions of locations worldwide.
But it doesn’t stop there; their Spend dataset gives you a unique perspective on consumer transactions, helping you understand not just when but also where and how people spend their money.
Use these datasets to analyze consumer behavior, assess accident risk based on building locations and foot traffic, and more.
Major data types: US properties and historical weather patterns
Key use cases: real estate investment and risk assessment
Climate change is a topic that affects many industries, including real estate. ClimateCheck steps in with a valuable resource for those investing or insuring in the US real estate market.
They process historical US weather data through over 25 internationally-recognized climate change models to predict weather and climate patterns for the next 30 years.
The result? A snapshot of how vulnerable over 140 million US homes are to climate change impacts, including droughts, storms, fires, floods, and more.
Major data types: financial, labor statistics
Key use cases: workforce analytics, talent acquisition and management
Greenwich.HR offers a unique perspective on a company’s financial viability through a human resources lens. Dive into the world of job openings, sought-after job roles, salary ranges (for over 80% of jobs), and more.
With data covering over 5 million companies across 200 countries, you can gain insights that help you understand a company’s health from a talent perspective.
4. HARNESS DATA
Major data types: UK points of interest, properties, and addresses; PDF document analysis
Key use cases: real estate investment, insurance risk assessment, logistics planning, fraud prevention
For hedge funds focusing on the British Isles, HARNESS DATA is a go-to alternative data source. They offer comprehensive information on addresses, properties, and points of interest in the UK.
With a free price per square meter assessment of over 16 million properties in England and Wales, you can make informed real estate investment decisions. HARNESS DATA also provides a tool that scans PDF documents for actionable, industry-specific data points.
Major data types: property, demographics, phone & email communication, automotive & other transactions, addresses
Key use cases: real estate
Infutor shines as one of the top alternative data providers for gaining insights into US consumers. Their offerings include demographics, address and property information, web traffic, automotive transactions, online transactions, and email & phone communication metadata.
It’s your one-stop-shop for understanding who US consumers are, where they spend their money, and what they purchase. Whether you’re into real estate or automotive investment, Infutor has you covered.
Major data types: property, mobility
Key use cases: visit attribution, consumer insights, site selection
Veraset aggregates data from multiple sources to provide accurate footfall analysis around major points of interest in over 150 countries worldwide.
They also offer a precise foot traffic dataset for the US, including building footprints of over 6 million points of interest. Whether you want to know if someone entered a building or merely walked past it, Veraset has you covered.
7. Vertical Knowledge
Major data types: online transactions, rental property, transportation, business summaries, points of interest
Key use cases: real estate investment, corporate research, retail insights, travel & tourism investment
Vertical Knowledge sources public data from the Internet and processes it into a privacy-compliant form.
With a vast array of alternative data examples, including best-selling books, air travel statistics, cruise metrics, company summaries & reviews, retail locations & information, short-term rental property details, and more, they have a dataset for almost every industry.
Use it to gain a competitive edge in your niche, specially for hedge fund managers.
Using GeoIQ as an Alternative Data Provider
GeoIQ is not just a location intelligence platform; it also serves as a robust alternative data provider. By seamlessly integrating GeIQ with your business data.
Layering Business Data with Location Data
GeoIQ combines your business data with location data to create a more comprehensive risk profile and score for specific areas. This integration offers a deeper understanding of the geographic context as compared to traditional sources.
Enrichment through Location Intelligence
By infusing geospatial insights into your data, GeoIQ adds an additional layer of understanding that enhances the accuracy of risk assessments. This enrichment enables you to make more informed decisions by processing raw data and leveraging alternative data.
Predictive Analytics with ML Models
GeoIQ provides access to machine learning models that help identify promising opportunities for credit products, contributing to business growth and profitability. These models use location data to make predictions with greater precision.
Address Verification and Reachability Assessment
GeoIQ’s real-time address iq checker ensures data accuracy on a large scale by verifying addresses in your database. Assessing address completeness helps anticipate difficulties in collections before they occur, saving time and resources.
Accurate Credit Score Calculation
With location insights, GeoIQ allows you to accurately calculate credit scores. This reduces the probability of defaults and enhances the effectiveness of your collections strategy, resulting in better financial outcomes.
GeoIQ seamlessly integrates your existing data sets with its extensive data ecosystem, sourced from over 600 data systems. This fusion enhances your alternative data analysis, providing a more profound understanding of your business environment as compared to traditional data.
Delve deep into your data with GeoIQ to uncover significant insights, such as patterns of product affinity, derived from collated data attributes. Using alternative data information can guide marketing and product development strategies using data science.
Forecasting User Behavioral Trends
GeoIQ’s machine learning algorithms and location intelligence can help you identify emerging trends and anticipate customer spending patterns. This enables more accurate forecasting and informed decision-making.
In the ever-evolving landscape of alternative data, GeoIQ stands as a reliable and innovative solution. By harnessing the power of location intelligence and data fusion, GeoIQ equips you with the tools needed to make data-driven decisions with confidence.
Whether you’re in finance, marketing, or any other industry, GeoIQ capabilities as an alternative data provider can give you a competitive edge. Take the next step in enhancing your data strategy by considering GeoIQ as your trusted partner in the world of alternative data.
With GeoIQ, you not only gain access to valuable data but also the insights and predictive capabilities that can drive your business forward. Don’t miss the opportunity to leverage the unique benefits of GeoIQ for your data needs.