Whip your fitness app into shape using safety and traffic data 

Would people who use fitness apps share their location and driving data to receive personalization? Arity's latest research dives in.

This article is the third in a series about leveraging app users’ driving data to provide meaningful value within the app.

Fitness motivation often comes from stats and metrics. Personalized data helps motivate people to set goals, check progress reports, and make strides through friendly competition with friends and the general public.

But would people who use fitness apps share their location and driving data to achieve such personalization? Arity’s recent research shows a resounding “yes,” especially among people age 20-48 who clearly understand the value that sharing would provide.

After speaking with multiple fitness app users, we found that top priorities included:

  • Tracking exercise and statistics
  • Motivating themselves to work out or lose weight
  • Monitor calorie intake
  • Track food and drink intake
  • Advice, challenges to do better, and social support

This is great news for fitness app publishers looking to add additional value for users without any extra work on the consumer’s part. Driving and location data can provide an additional layer of insight that can help fitness app users reach their goals.

Sharing location data

The catch is to make sure consumers are clear about the value of allowing their location to be shared. Only about 28% of our respondents were not worried at all about sharing their location. The rest needed to know it was necessary in some way: for the app to run, that it provided a specific benefit, or that you could allow it only while using the app.

In terms of value, one 27-year-old respondent said, “How does [location data] relate to advertising? Are they using it for targeting ads? Is it improving the experience? If that’s not clear, then I won’t turn it on.”

Allowing push notifications

About 50% of research participants would allow push notifications within an app, especially to get a reminder to log information, to see new product features, to see new achievement goals, or be alerted to a friend’s activity. The other half didn’t see the value of notifications from a fitness app or thought it might be distracting.

The key theme here is understanding the value. If app publishers can explicitly demonstrate value from sharing, the person who downloads the app is more likely to allow it.

Showing the value of sharing data

Value is easy to talk about, but less easy to imagine in real life. Here are three  scenarios where sharing data provided real-world benefits that resonated with our fitness research respondents:

Distracted driving heatmap: Knowing which streets and neighborhoods are most likely to have distracted drivers at a given time and avoiding them on workouts.

  • Example push notification: Warning – you’re getting close to a Distracted Driving Zone! Try this safer route instead.

Accident avoidance: Knowing which routes are more prone to car accidents and high-speed driving.

  • Example push notification: Use a detour on your running route to avoid an accident on Ashland and Addison.

Driving vs. biking or walking: Knowing when driving would be a slower commute than walking or riding a bike was very important to the people who didn’t have long distances to travel.

  • Example push notification: Avoid traffic delays and save 20 minutes or more on your commute by riding your bike to and from work today.

One 20-year-old participant noted, “I live in New York, and sometimes walking is better than waiting for a subway that’s delayed, so that would be nice to have as an alternative [to Google maps].”

Our research into consumer preferences continues, but it appears that app publishers currently have a big opportunity to increase the safety and engagement of their fitness-minded audiences, while also providing the company key benefits.

With Arity’s mobility data, app publishers can keep their users safe, active, and engaged by helping them find the best routes and workouts based on their location and how they move through their day.

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.