The final mile in attributing advertising spend correctly

Adrian James

In the past decade the online space has seen the birth of attribution solutions designed to help online advertisers understand how to appropriate the value that Email, Affiliate Marketing, Google (Pay-Per-Click), Search Engine Optimization or Display Advertising has to an on-line conversion. The problem is not new to advertisers, for decades offline Media buyers and Clients have asked themselves - ‘What works, Television, Radio, Print.…..?’ 

However, both online and offline advertisers share a similar problem when it comes to measurement, what happens when customers go into a store? It is a black hole, an abyss, in which the advertiser has no data or control over the conversion. 

That was until the smart phone. Through the anonymous tracking of Wi-Fi signals emitted from smartphones we have the ability to understand what happens to the customer in-store, where they go and what do they look at. Traditionally, we have been able to use data from technologies like door counters, Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) or cameras to gauge a little understanding of the relationship between advertising and the store but these technologies have tended to be expensive, inaccurate or arbitrary. 

Additionally, these technologies have never really answered the fundamental questions like, if I advertise jeans on-line what does that do to the footfall for that product category in store, what else did customers look at after they looked at the jeans, who converted and who did not, and what were the other traffic drivers that drove the in-store visit. This last question allows the analysis of the media mix advertisers use to promote propositions and seeks to understand what actually works and what is the impact of the store experience on the conversion. 

Many Marketers will argue that driving footfall through advertising to a store is proof enough of their conversion success but this is very old school thinking. The new omni-channel school views the store as part of the path to conversion and attributes a weighting, as you would to other traffic drivers in driving conversion, to show their value to the sale. The aim is simple, view the complete path to conversion, not just pockets. Pockets allow us to fish data out to build an argument for more expenditure on PPC, Email or Television and this leads to incorrect expenditure on media. 

True understanding of the path to conversion takes data from online and offline and marries it to how a customer buys a product and then works out the optimum media to drive the future conversion. In this era of the smartphone the true omni-channel retailer will embrace the off line data benefits it brings and start to spend smart on their advertising to accurately deliver conversion at the till.

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Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.