What is alternate data, it's types and applications

What is Alternate Data? It’s Types and Applications.

In the dynamic realm of today’s digital landscape, businesses are continually seeking innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. Traditional data sources, though valuable, often fail to provide the complete story necessary for informed decision-making. This is where alternate data comes into play. Alternate data refers to non-traditional sources of information that can provide valuable insights when combined with traditional data sources.

Understanding Alternate Data 

Alternate data, also known as alternative data, is a vast array of information derived from unconventional sources. It includes data that is not typically found in traditional databases or financial statements. This data can be collected from a variety of sources, such as social media platforms, web scraping, satellite imagery, IoT devices, and more. The power of alternate data lies in its ability to provide unique insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and other key factors that can impact business decisions.

Types of Alternate Data

  1. Social Media Data
    With the proliferation of social media platforms, valuable insights can be extracted from users’ posts, comments, and interactions. This data can reveal consumer sentiment, preferences, and emerging trends, enabling businesses to refine their marketing strategies, improve customer engagement, and identify potential risks.
  2. Web Data
    Web scraping involves extracting data from websites to gather information about products, prices, customer reviews, and competitor analysis. This type of data can assist businesses in understanding market dynamics, monitoring pricing strategies, and identifying new opportunities for growth.
  3. Satellite Imagery:
    Satellite imagery provides a unique perspective by capturing real-time visuals of physical locations. This data can be leveraged for various applications, including monitoring crop yields, tracking supply chain activities, assessing infrastructure development, and predicting natural disasters.
  4. IoT Data:
    The Internet of Things (IoT) has revolutionized data collection by connecting various devices and sensors. IoT data can offer insights into energy consumption patterns, transportation optimization, asset tracking, and predictive maintenance. This information can enhance operational efficiency and facilitate data-driven decision-making.
  5. Financial Data:
    Alternate financial data encompasses unconventional sources like credit card transactions, alternative lending data, and mobile payment records. By analyzing this data, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of consumer spending patterns, creditworthiness, and economic trends.
  6. Location Data:
    Location data, also known as geospatial data, provides valuable information about the physical coordinates and attributes of a specific location. It can be obtained through GPS devices, mobile apps, and other geolocation technologies. Location data can help businesses understand customer behavior based on their movement patterns, identify optimal store locations, analyze foot traffic, and personalize marketing campaigns based on proximity to certain points of interest.

Read More: AI and Location Data: Bridging the Gap

Applications of Alternate Data

Investment and Finance

Alternate data has significantly impacted the investment landscape. Hedge funds and asset managers leverage alternate data to identify investment opportunities, evaluate company performance, and predict market trends. For instance, satellite imagery can be used to monitor retail foot traffic, enabling investors to gauge the success of a company’s brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail and E-commerce

Alternate data plays a crucial role in understanding consumer behavior and improving the customer experience. By analyzing social media data, businesses can identify popular trends, personalize marketing campaigns, and optimize product recommendations. Additionally, web scraping can provide insights into competitor pricing strategies and help retailers adjust their pricing accordingly.

Insurance and Risk Management

Insurers can harness alternate data to assess risk accurately. For example, by analyzing social media posts, insurance companies can evaluate an individual’s lifestyle choices, travel habits, and health conditions. This data helps them develop more personalized policies, mitigate risks, and prevent fraudulent claims.

Supply Chain Management

Alternate data, such as location intelligence and IoT data, can optimize supply chain operations. It enables companies to track shipments, manage inventory levels efficiently, and identify bottlenecks in the supply chain. By leveraging this data, businesses can reduce costs, improve delivery times, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Real Estate

The demand for alternate data has revolutionized the real estate industry by providing valuable insights into market trends, property valuations, and investment opportunities. For instance, analyzing satellite imagery can help investors and developers identify urban development patterns, assess property conditions, and make informed decisions about potential investments. Additionally, web data can be utilized to gather information on property listings, rental rates, and neighborhood demographics, aiding in market analysis and pricing strategies.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Alternate data has enormous potential in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. Social media data can be harnessed to monitor public health trends, track the spread of diseases, and detect adverse drug reactions. Furthermore, IoT data collected from wearable devices and health monitoring tools can contribute to personalized medicine, remote patient monitoring, and clinical research.

Marketing and Advertising

It provides marketers with a wealth of information to tailor their strategies effectively. By analyzing social media data, businesses can identify influential trends, understand consumer sentiment, and target specific demographics. This data can be used to create personalized advertisements, optimize marketing campaigns, and enhance customer engagement.

Risk Assessment and Fraud Detection

Alternate data plays a crucial role in risk assessment and fraud detection across various industries. By combining traditional financial data with alternative data sources, companies can gain a comprehensive view of an individual’s creditworthiness, transaction patterns, and behavior. This data can aid in identifying potential fraud, reducing credit risk, and enhancing the accuracy of credit scoring models.

Privacy and Ethical Considerations

While alternate data offers significant advantages, it also raises concerns regarding privacy and ethical considerations. Organizations must ensure that the data they collect is obtained legally and used responsibly. Compliance with data protection regulations and obtaining proper consent from individuals is essential. Striking the right balance between data collection and privacy protection is crucial to maintain the trust of customers and stakeholders.


Alternate data has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses across industries, providing valuable insights beyond traditional data sources. From social media data to satellite imagery and IoT data, the possibilities are vast. By harnessing alternate data, organizations can make data-driven decisions, gain a competitive edge, and unlock new opportunities for growth. However, it is crucial to navigate the ethical and privacy considerations associated with alternate data findings to ensure responsible and sustainable use. As technology continues to advance, the potential applications of alternate data will only continue to expand, shaping the future of business intelligence and decision-making.

In the ever-evolving landscape of alternate data, location data and intelligence serve as indispensable pillars that augment existing datasets with valuable location intelligence. Through the utilization of advanced platform like GeoIQ, businesses can tap into the wealth of information derived from geospatial intelligence sources, unlocking deeper insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and competitive landscapes. This fusion of specialised alternate data and location intelligence empowers businesses to make more informed decisions, optimize operations, and gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced and data-driven world. By harnessing the power of GeoIQ and its location data capabilities, businesses can navigate the complex terrain of alternate data with confidence, illuminating new pathways to success.

Scroll to Top