The golden marketing question: how effective are your ad campaigns? With a large majority of sales being made in-store, simply tracking your online conversion rates is not enough to track the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. Business owners and marketing managers increasingly need to understand if their efforts are translating into store visits.
Up until recently, it was difficult for brick and mortar retailers to really know if their campaigns were driving people to their locations. Local businesses needed to rely on traditional methods, such as offering a coupon or code, and offering an incentive for customers to redeem this coupon for a discount. Alternatively, companies would have to wait until credit card payments could be analysed, an expensive process that could take a long time - time that would delay management’s decisions regarding a campaign. Yet over 90% of sales are being made in-store, so understanding offline attribution is a must.
Recently, there’s been a lot of innovation on this topic. From the developments by Google’s Store Visit Conversions that were updated last November, to the launch of Foursquare’s Attribution two weeks ago, to new product announcements from other big and small players over the last month. Marketers of retail locations now have increasingly better options to track the performance of their campaigns.
Here are our top 5 new tools to measure offline attribution:
1) Attribution Powered by Foursquare
The newly launched Attribution Powered by Foursquare is tapping into a 1.3 million sample of consumers through its platform. This is a group of people who use the Foursquare app and keep their location data turned on voluntarily, effectively forming a “non-incentivised” panel.
Through its access to the location of so many real consumers, Foursquare’s technology is able to offer statistically significant insights by comparing consumers that were exposed to ads versus a control group. In other words, it can measure the behaviour of someone who was exposed to the ad and compare it to someone from the same demographic that was not exposed - what they call incremental lift.
A key selling point is that these insights are available on a daily basis, so customers don’t have to wait weeks or months to make decisions based on their campaign effectiveness.
Foursquare announced their product along with an impressive set of results from the Super Bowl ads. Hyundai, for example, saw an increase of 5% in foot traffic the week following the Super Bowl, presumably meaning an increased intent to purchase. Red Lobster also experienced an increase of 12% in foot traffic after being mentioned in Beyonce’s song Formation.
The results from the Superbowl, however interesting, showed the offline traffic during the week following the game instead of the incremental lift. Flipboard, on the other hand, used Attribution powered by Foursquare to show that the ad campaigns of one of their retail brands resulted in an incremental lift of 12% in in-store visits.
PlaceIQ’s ambitions are growing. In January of this year, the company raised a round of 25M in funding bringing their total raised equity to over 50M. PlaceIQ also recently partnered with LiveRamp to offer advertisers insights from TV ads and attribute them to in-store visits. While LiveRamp provides the targeting, PlaceIQ adds the location data and offline behaviour. By using this new product, marketers can now A/B test their TV campaigns and make decisions accordingly.
PlaceIQ has been in the offline attribution game since it was founded in 2010. It invented Place Visit Rate (PVR®), a patent-pending metric that tracks the impact of advertising campaigns on in-store foot traffic. Just like web-based cookies track people’s movement online, PlaceIQ uses location data from other apps to gain insights into consumer behaviour.
3) Adtheorent’s Barometric
Barometric differentiates itself by collecting customer ID’s across mobile, app, desktop, physical address and in-store and matching these IDs’s to a single user. The solution was originally developed as an internal tool for AdTheorent’s data-driven digital ad network and is now available as an independently hosted service for use with all media.
About 2 weeks ago, Adtheorent released it’s new product Barometric, which allows marketers to serve ads, attribute visits and access audience analytics - all from one platform. This holistic solution could be quite valuable for marketers as the management of ad campaigns becomes increasingly complex.
4) Google Store Visit Conversions
In November 2015, Google launched an update to their Store Visit Conversion solution, which offers advertisers a more detail view of offline measurements. Google had already rolled out their “Store Visit” metric with their AdWords campaigns in December 2014. Simply put, Google uses data from consumers’ ad clicks on all devices and tracks store visits within 30 days of an ad click. Of course, Google also uses location data from consumers’ phones to estimate visit rates.
Now, with Google’s latest rollout, it is possible to breakout store visits at a keyword or ad group level. Advertisers wanting to use this service need to have a Google My Business account linked to an AdWords account. At the moment, this service seems to work best for larger store chains and businesses with multiple locations and thousands of ad clicks.
5) Facebook’s Offline Actions
Facebook just announced that it is bolstering its offline attribution features. The social media giant is launching Offline Actions this week, which allows advertisers using Facebook’s own ad network, Atlas, to upload point-of-sale data and view it alongside their campaigns.
This new product would let marketers better understand the success of their campaigns by linking them to offline sales. Facebook is also debuting the metric “Path to Conversion” which would provide better insights regarding which combination of online actions (ex. a mobile ad plus a desktop follow-up promo) lead to a sale.
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