In the era of ecommerce, consumers are multi-channel browsers, weaving between online and in-person shopping. The cyber and physical retail worlds share a symbiotic relationship with digital advertising, influencing customers’ purchases. The majority of retail purchases are still made in person. However, 83% of consumers ages 18-44 now browse products on their phones while in-store, according to a report from Retail Dive. It’s more important than ever to optimize the mobile experience for omnichannel success. Any brand that doesn’t look at the whole picture – online and in-store working together – may be underestimating their digital ROAS.
Increasingly, consumers have a variety of means to research items and make purchases, yet brands often lack visibility into how online activity connects to their storefront sales. To get accurate attribution, it’s vital that savvy brands and retailers maintain good data for their digital ad strategies. Without sound data, it may be impossible to attribute storefront sales to digital ads, but technology provides the key to cracking the attribution problem.
Specifically, Google tools like Store Visits and Store Sales Direct, as well as data onboarding solutions like LiveRamp, track digital information and help correlate storefront revenue directly to online ad campaigns. We’ll run through the ways to more accurately credit store sales to online ads and demonstrate how the tools work, why they are helpful, and any drawbacks to look out for.
Store Visits - A tool by Google that determines the impact that Google shopping, Google Ad displays, and YouTube advertisements have on in-person shopping sales.
- How It Works – Google has geofenced every major retail shop in the United States and through this ability (plus algorithms), Google Store Visits shows whether a location-enabled smartphone user has entered a specific store.
- Why It’s Helpful – While shopping, a consumer’s smartphone provides valuable real-time information. Store Visits helps by putting together the pieces and lets the retailers know with greater accuracy who is interacting with them online and then visiting and purchasing in the store.
- Room for Improvement – The downside of Store Visits is that it primarily works when location tracking is enabled on the shopper’s smartphone or when the consumer is signed in to their Google account while shopping. Since this is not the case for the majority of consumers, retailers can miss out on key information.
Store Sales Direct – A way for stores to collect data directly from their customers and upload it in order to help measure offline conversions.
- How It Works – A company loyalty program is another way that retailers can attribute online advertising to sales. By capturing an email address or recruiting customers to a loyalty program, brands and retailers can directly link a customer to a purchase. Later, on the backend, the retailer can submit the data to Google AdWords for further assessment of the data, such as how the online ads are influencing purchases.
- Why It’s Helpful – Consumers are likely to share their information with stores they frequent or ones that provide rewards in exchange for data. In turn, retailers can load the information into Store Sales Direct. Since the accuracy rate is high, it’s a good way to close the gap between digital interaction and store sales.
- Room for Improvement – The use of voluntary information means a store will not get the complete profile for all interactions or the correlation between online ads and storefront sales.
LiveRamp - A data onboarding solution.
- How It Works – LiveRamp connects a retailer’s customer database, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM), data with consumer shopping information and habits to provide target marketing and effective measurements.
- Why It’s Helpful – This tool uses consumer cookie records based on input records matched to a cookie (even from information gleaned from multiple devices) to help provide a 360º view of a customer profile, without the duplication of cookies.
Furthermore, LiveRamp’s ability to understand Average Order Value (AOV) for online influenced purchases means that, when combined with the Store Visits tool, LiveRamp provides quantifiable sales information.
- Room for Improvement – LiveRamp has a low match rate of 30 - 40%, leaving the remaining 60 - 70% of the data determined through sample sets. However, since sampling runs the risk of providing inaccurate information, LiveRamp alone cannot capture the complete picture. LiveRamp works best when combined with the above-recommended solutions (Store Visits and Store Sales Direct).
Now that we’ve touched on how digital advertising attribution solutions, used alone or ideally in tandem, work best to attribute storefront sales to online ads, you’ll be in a better position to see where your marketing is truly making a difference. For a deeper dive on the discussed measuring tools, read the Adlucent white paper, “From Finger to Foot Traffic.”
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