Five Surprising Ways Companies Collect Data

ways companies collect data

Seamless Data-Collecting Techniques That Companies Employ

  • Social Media Behavior
  • Unrelated Online Browsing
  • GPS Tracking
  • Past Receipts
  • Motion Monitoring

In the world where information drives revenues, it comes as no surprise that most businesses rely on creative ways of collecting data on consumers. Although most buyers remain oblivious to these techniques, companies take advantage of them in order to increase upselling, do interest-based targeting, or bundle products.

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Social Media Behavior

As platforms where people willingly offer personal information, social media websites are perfect for data collection. They let companies get a hold of applicable information that may help them increase sales. The way that this is achieved boils down to user tracking. In other words, people who have social media accounts are always subjected to activity monitoring. That way, the insight on their browsing will give a clear-cut depiction of things that they researched, liked, commented on, shared, and so on.

Unrelated Online Browsing

One of the most basic marketing techniques revolves around the so-called pixel. For those unfamiliar, this is a piece of code that tracks one’s movement on the internet. So, for instance, someone who visits a website will often become a part of that website’s pixel. As a consequence, the company whose website was visited will have an overview of all other online locations that the visitor went through. Thus, if a clothing store has an abandoned checkout, they could use their pixel to see where the buyer went. From there, they can conduct analyses that will minimize the number of abandoned checkouts in the future, per se.

GPS Tracking

Given how important location services are nowadays, it is practically impossible to rely on mobile apps without enabling them to track where someone is. Expectedly, this is one of the most blatant ways that companies collect data. By tracking the person’s location, they get important information about their movement, proximity to certain stores, and much more. So, for example, if someone visited a car shop, GPS tracking will allow companies to send them various car-shop-based ads.

Past Receipts

If someone has a history of transacting with a certain business, they are likely to spend as much as 67 percent more on future transactions with that business, according to This is a byproduct of establishing trust and allowing the buyer to rely on the company’s performance. It is also the reason why past receipts are commonly used as a mainstream way of collecting data on consumers. For example, if an individual has a track record of buying large amounts of supplies at the end of the month, businesses may begin sending them marketing campaigns around that time.

Motion Monitoring

Even though most of the previous alternatives are borderline unblemished, there is one more way to track users’ data that nobody is generally aware of – motion monitoring. Retail businesses largely rely on this tactic as it helps them identify the parts of the store that seem to be getting the most visitors. It also lets them know which areas are being avoided. Courtesy of such feedback, they can customize their displays and look for ways to attract more people where needed. This approach also attests to Forbes’ claim that every company is a data-based company.


Undoubtedly, there are many more ways to get a hold of relevant information. At some point, however, businesses must address potential privacy concerns that may perpetuate liability issues. Nevertheless, if the previously mentioned methods ever become obsolete, it is likely that companies will simply find new ways to collect data.

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