Do Consumers Go the Distance? Exploring Zones of Convenience and Consumer Behavior

Do Consumers Go the Distance? Exploring Zones of Convenience and Consumer Behavior

By Jessica Yiu, Product Manager


It should be no surprise that consumers shop and dine at places that are convenient for them. Why travel across town to pick up groceries or grab a quick bite when you can just go to the one less than 5 minutes away from your current location? As marketers already know, convenience trumps many other factors — such as price sensitivity and brand loyalty — in determining purchase decisions.


What has eluded marketers, however, is how to reach these convenience shoppers most efficiently. DMA or zip-level targeting are basic tactics to try to reach those who live by a location of interest. However, they are limited in two critical ways:


  • DMA and/or zip-levels can span vast areas, including rural regions. These rural regions include people who are not conveniently located to a place of interest, which results in wasted impressions.
  • DMA and/or zip-levels tend to be solely based off where people live, not factoring in where they work. Realistically, “convenience” is determined by home location, work location and the journey between the two.


Fortunately, we’ve built Zones of Convenience Audiences that address both of these limitations. By honing in on a more precise area of coverage based on how far consumers work or live from a location of interest, marketers can understand the ‘zone’ in which the respective audience spends the majority of their time, to be able to reach them more efficiently. The audiences are constructed by selecting all home and work locations that fall within a certain radius of a retail store or other location of interest. By limiting the area of interest to about one half mile, targeting tactics become precise — specific to those whose home and/or workplace is most accessible to that store — thereby conserving impressions.¹


Convenience: The gift that keeps on giving


There is enormous flexibility in terms of how these audiences can be leveraged. First off, these audiences can be generated to include franchise locations with different distances that can be used for comparative analysis. For instance, depending on how closely a consumer lives to a particular QSR site, marketers can allocate campaign spend accordingly — placing more impressions for those who live one mile from the QSR location, and less impressions for those living five miles away.


It’s easy to see how convenience influences where a consumer shops, but it goes even further than that. On-the-go dining locations such as fast casual and quick service restaurants also benefit from a convenience zone (think frenzied commuter picking up a late family dinner on their drive home). In addition to shopping and dining, convenience might also help determine where people spend their free time. For example, movie theaters might want to reach potential theatre goers with discounted movie tickets if they live nearby or in a specific neighborhood.


It is also possible to conquest your competitor’s customers by identifying those people who live in areas where there are similarly-distanced options. Let’s say there are two big box brands in a given neighborhood. This is prime marketing battleground for homes situated within three miles from both stores. Given both stores are equally convenient for those shoppers to get to, a minor incentive (like a coupon or sales promotion) could get shoppers into your store as opposed to your competitor’s.


What’s more, Zones of Convenience Audiences can be used in combination with other off-the-shelf PlaceIQ audiences. For example:


  • Recent Movers can be layered with Battleground Audiences — those who live within three miles of two competing big box stores. Families who have recently moved or relocated are still familiarizing themselves with the local amenities and developing their new routines and brand preferences. This is the perfect time for a brand to engage with these potential new customers before they define their zone of convenience.
  • Lapsed Shoppers — those who live close to a certain retail site but haven’t visited recently — represent a tremendous opportunity for that retailer to grow its customer base. Send a promotion to remind consumers that you appreciate their business and regain loyalty.


Consumers are always looking for a quick and easy way to get things done. Zones of Convenience Audiences help brands remind consumers that their stores fit seamlessly into the daily grind. Why go out of your way, when there is an easy solution right in front of you? Show consumers how your brand can be logically integrated into their lives.


To learn more about PlaceIQ audiences, reach out to us at



¹Of course, these areas of coverage are customizable — if a larger area is warranted for a given campaign, we can expand the radius accordingly.