Tracking Smart – Holiday 2014

With Q4 and the holidays rapidly approaching, the majority of Retailers across the country are busy finalizing media plans in hopes to capitalize on the predicted bump in consumer spend this year over 2013. In addition to finalizing offers, creative, and media channels, smart Retailers are turning their focus to another key, yet often overlooked, consideration: attribution. Specifically, online to offline tracking. Consider these key facts:

94% of total U.S. retail sales are happening in store

88% of consumers research online and then buy in a physical store

Greater than 50% of U.S. offline retail sales will be influenced by the web in 2017

By now, all of us understand that we’re constantly connected to the web – whether it be via phone, tablet, or desktop. The challenge for Retailers is having the ability to track this inter connectivity between device type and understanding their marketing impact on the bottom line – whether or not it resulted in an online sale. Too often, marketing plans – with large dollar amounts attached – are hurriedly executed, ultimately resulting in little value once the campaign is over. Successful marketers take the time to define traceable goals that can prove positive ROI. Here are a few brief examples of Retailers with brick & mortar locations who are taking simple steps to begin to clarify attribution in their marketing campaigns, specifically online to offline. These examples assume in-store foot traffic as a KPI:

Offers: the most successful offers for B/M locations are redeemable in-store only. If your landing page (for any one of your B/M locations) simply contains descriptive language about the offer itself or redirects users to the e-commerce counterpart of your website, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Make it clear to users that the offer is for in-store redemption only, and contain traceable actions on your offer module so the user can be tracked offline – for example, “Get Offer Details.” Very simply, once a user is cookied they can often be tracked back to an email receipt in store – giving clearer insight into offline activity.

Events: for in-store events, instead of driving users to a general page about the event itself, give users an incentive to RSVP and tag the confirmation page. With general insight into the number of RSVPs driven through paid media, you at least have a baseline to compare against the number of users who come in store – and your media agency has a KPI to optimize towards.

Tracking Intent: if users are searching for your B/M location pages, they’re most like interested in address and store hour information – and likely searching from their phones. Actions such as “Get Directions,” “Email – Text – Print” store information are valuable CTAs that enable marketers to track activity offline – furthermore, tagging these actions will give your bidding tool conversion points to optimize towards.

As technology has improved, smart retailers are taking advantage of the relationships companies such as LiveRamp, epsilon, and datalogix have formed with the “Googles” of today. Because of these partnerships, store transaction attribution is now (even more so) a very real possibility. With a vast amount of personally identifiable information at their fingertips (think about the last time you made a purchase online with your credit card,) data aggregators are making it possible for marketers to track offline activity – ultimately influencing online advertising decisions. Here is a brief breakdown of more sophisticated tracking, online to offline:

Data aggregators have cookie pools identifying 35% of users by their household

Cookies are establishes by visiting (e.g.) and making a transaction

User clicks on a (e.g.) Google ad

User purchases in store and is identified via (e.g.) a loyalty card (matched to cookie)

Data can be uploaded to (e.g.) AdWords – giving per click attribution, down to the keyword level

Other technologies, such as LiveRamp, provide similar services and have a cookie match rate of 35-40% (specifically) from CRM data to browser. Offline data provided via data aggregators can also be utilized by marketers to influence:

Targeting: use audience behavioral and demographic information from your CRM system to created targeted campaigns across channel

Personalization: utilize CRM data to executive dynamic creative and personalization of your website and landing page to improve CVR

Implementing a cross channel attribution model is not a turnkey process – it demands buy in and active engagement from a variety of business groups to provide and share accurate information. If you’re a retailer with brick and mortar locations, start small – start tagging your landing pages with CTAs and touch points that convey intent for users to visit in store (and begin to optimize those points) – if you have an ecommerce counterpart to your site, it’s imperative to also consider the amount of online revenue driven via your brick and mortar pages and where that credit ultimately goes. Balance your investment by implementing simple, traceable actions on your site and partnering with data providers to harness your CRM system to create a dynamic, cross channel attribution system for your brand.

As the % of U.S. retail sales continues to shift in store, the most successful companies are continually prioritizing the online to offline consideration (and even more so during the holidays) – track smart.




Dustin Lewis About the author
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