You Are What You Buy, Not What You Search For…

There’s no escaping SoLoMo…it’s here, and it’s here to stay. The integration of Social Media, Local and Mobile Search seems to be all the rage – and perhaps understandably so. Tapping into the natural curiosity of what our friends are doing around town on a Friday nite, along with (of course) what pub has the best happy hour – you have, e.g., Foursquare. And what better device to provide all this information than your smartphone? Not while driving mind you! Ok, I’ll get to the point…My point is, with all the advancements in Social Media, along with Local and Mobile Search, we have another catch phrase I’m sure you all have heard time, and countless time again: “closing the loop.” Closing the loop concerning what you ask? I’m talking about closing the loop between online advertising and offline purchases.

Easier said than done. We’ve struggled with this concept for a while now: the never ending quest to capture a realistic ROI value for all your hard earned SEM dollars spent. In early June we (shocking) saw Google get into the mix with its Offers/Wallet product – basically the ability for consumers to make payments via NFC-enabled Google Smartphones while redeeming online coupons, discounts etc. Hmm, smart move indeed. If you throw PPC programs into the mix, it seems that Google can now more clearly show transactions as a result of search engine marketing. And with a clearer picture of ROI, small to medium size businesses across the country may be more apt to spend a larger percentage of their advertising budget on PPC. Why not make your phone your wallet? Mobile advertising is exploding and Offers is the product that will bring us full circle. With Android’s market share on the rise concerning smartphones, this is really a win-win for Google.

Fortunately, it’s not all about Google. Large companies across the country are starting to take advantage of SoLoMo in new and exciting ways. American Express, for example, has been aggressive in launching mobile discounts/payment products with Foursquare and Facebook. With the announcement of Facebook’s “Link, Like, Love” product, users can now link their Facebook with their American Express account(s). Deals from Amex are shared and liked within your social group – but also stored within Amex itself. What does this all mean? Amex can now track your offline conversion by associating the coupon redeemed with your Amex card while you’re out and about.

Facebook targets users for specific deals based upon items Liked, while Foursquare primarily uses check in history. Just as Foursquare suggests local places you might want to check out, it introduces the user to specifics deals based upon stored user data (what places you most often visit.)

What’s the bottom line here? Two words: purchase history. Concerning deals, we’re making an obvious transition from a Groupon based model to something more targeted, more educated. We no longer want to distribute deals, mass discounts into the stratosphere in hopes that perhaps somebody, somewhere will want to make a purchase. SoLoMo allows the advertiser to accurately target the audience most willing to make a purchase – and track the conversion offline. This is huge – demographic targeting is out, and purchase history is in. Gary Kearns, a MasterCard Executive, says it best:

“Empowerment to predict future purchase behavior… comes directly from knowing what’s been sold, redeemed, and how often. And for local merchants, richer consumer profiles come from analyzing purchases in totality – not just what they buy from you.”

MasterCard has it good. With 37 million merchants using their purchase products, the door is wide open for the company to build rich profiles of their consumers – honing in on what products their consumers purchase the most, and what/when to advertise these deals to their customers. SoLoMo is the key; however, it’s not a one stop shop. With the convergence of multiple interfaces across multiple devices, discrepancies in data are bound to happen (they are happening.) But SoLoMo is certainly the first step in finally closing the loop in the quest for a realistic ROI.

It can really be summed up by saying: “I am what I buy most often, not what I search for once or twice…”

Source: Mobile, Deals & Payments: Closing the Local Loop: Michael Boland

Iestyn Mullins About the author
  • Jon

    Great article Dustin. The addresses the statement “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. Now you know 🙂

    August 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

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