With more purchases being made online and the recent parade of big box retail store closings, it has marketers and consumers alike wondering if brick and mortar retail is dead or at the very least, how it can compete. For the foreseeable future, there will be many things consumers need to buy in a brick and mortar store like furniture, tools, appliances and some specialty clothing like work boots. No, retail is not dead, but many retailers are doing business both online and offline in order to compete.

Laptop on table

While lead generation on the B2B side and e-commerce provide a real-time, tangible look into successful engagement with a direct line to conversion or sales online, for brick and mortar retail the metric has proven more elusive. How do online efforts impact offline store traffic? And, more importantly, how can data prove it?

With a media landscape that continues to evolve and a marketplace that is fierce, marketers must find every advantage to leverage digital engagement to drive both online and offline traffic to an e-commerce site or store. It is very easy to execute a digital display or paid search campaign but knowing with certainty that the media mix investments are working for offline revenue, a strategic, well thought out approach of measurement and attribution is crucial in order to prove the value of the media investment.

If we go back in time a few years, you could measure this but it required painstaking manual testing with media channels being turned on and off in selected geographies to measure the impact of advertising on offline revenue at locations. This method was extremely challenging.

Today, online to offline measurement and attribution can be achieved with advanced machine learning sophistication. It is a seamless process to measure store visits to your entire footprint of brick and mortar locations and tie that data back to touchpoints of paid search, audio, video and display. It is also possible to say with certainty of statistical significance which creative messaging helped drive incremental lift in foot traffic to stores. Data helps define the media mix, the messaging, and takes the guesswork out of budget allocations for each channel. As you gather data based on store visits, that can continuously help drive conversions and refine your A/B/n tests of messaging.

How it works

Mobile technology allows the measurement of a mobile device ID being present at a given address defined by latitude, longitude, and radius. For the purpose of cross device targeting, the mobile device ID are aligned to relevant cookies across desktop and laptops using data signals to ensure the multiple devices belong to the same person. Next, paid media can be activated across channels such as paid search, audio, video and display. The technology allows reporting back on foot traffic or store visits for users who are exposed to one of the paid ads and at a later time visited a specific location. If conducting A/B testing on messaging and audiences, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning algorithms further help optimize towards the best set of variables that will result in a lift in foot traffic.

This is also quite effective as a competitive advantage, using available competitor retailer location data and targeting device IDs of those who have gone into that store – serving competitive messages in a timely manner during their visit or after they leave.

Using an example to illustrate the process, let’s say the company is a leading furniture retailer. If a consumer visits a competitive brand furniture store, working with a variety of data management platforms, you can target the consumer and serve up an appropriate ad from your brand to incentivise a visit or purchase – perhaps highlighting a promotion. The goal is to provide something of value that engages them in that exploratory window of time, creates great relevance for your brand and moves them toward your brand or store. The technology allows the ability to measure the success of that effort based on their device ID appearing in one of your stores.

This type of attribution requires an investment, time, and expertise but shifting to an attribution model will prove successful.

To get started, there are five core steps:

  1. Assess current data – this exercise will tell you if your current data is useful, the gaps in your data and the easiest path to developing an appropriate attribution model
  2. Define an attribution model that best fits your goals – define infrastructure and technical requirements, and systems that could impact a cohesive program
  3. Conduct internal meetings to bring others along in the process – helping qualify budget, KPI goals and anticipated ROI
  4. Develop the creative campaign based on audience insights – rather than a promotional idea in order to align with a deeper area of need for your audience
  5. Execute A/B/n testing – optimizing campaign concepts allows opportunity to gain the best results

Contact us to explore online to offline attribution solutions for your brick and mortar locations.

A new study was released on April 9, 2015, from Pew Research Center on how teens, ages 13-17, use social media and technology. The center collected data from 1,060 teens from September 25 to October 9, 2014 and February 10 to March 16, 2015.

Since its release, one of the most pulled statistics has been that
24% of teens go online almost constantly,’ facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones. However, there are other interesting findings to be had in the report.

For example, how does family income affect the choice of which social network a teen chooses to use? In addition, how has the availability of smartphones affected the modes of communication teens choose?

Smartphone Availability is the Cornerstone of Teens’ Online and Social Media Activities

The availability of smartphones has led to 92% of teens being online daily. Of those 92% of teens, 24% are online “almost constantly,” 56% report being online several times each day and 12% use the Internet once a day.
Pew’s survey also showed that 91% of teens are using a mobile device to access the Internet. According to the study, almost three-fourths of all teens own, or have access to, a smartphone. Only 12% of teens don’t have a cell phone of any kind.

Frequency of Internet Use by Teens
In addition to granting access to the online world, having access to a smartphone has shifted the ways in which teens are communicating with each other. 90% of teens that have access to mobile phones text, and send a median of 30 texts per day. 73% are using messaging apps like WhatsApp or Kik, with African-American and Hispanic teens more likely than white teens to be using the app(s).

Which Social Media Networks Teens Are Using

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Usage

While many teens have been leaving the platform, Facebook remains the most popular social site with 71% of teens using it. Instagram (51%) and Snapchat (41%) round out the top three platforms. More interestingly, 71% of teens surveyed stated that they are using more than one social network.

Pew also found in its research that 22% of teens only use one social platform. The 22% further breaks down into the sole platforms:

While Facebook continually drives organizations toward advertising to reach their audience on its platform, Facebook will remain a good place for brands to target their younger audiences for the time being.

Social Media Usage by Gender

Demographically, there are some interesting splits between which social networks teen boys and girls are more likely to visit. Generally, girls tend to use the more visual platforms than their male counterparts.

Girls Dominate Visually-Oriented Social Media Platforms

Just over one-in-five teens use online pinboards, like Pinterest. The demographics teens using of sites like Pinterest break into:

The other sites frequented by teens:

The study also found that teen boys are far more likely to play video games than girls. Whether it was playing games online, on their phones, or through a console, boys vastly outweigh girls for interacting through gaming.

Household Income’s Effect on Social Media Use

Snapchat Income Comparison

The socio-economic status of the teens in the survey seemed to make a difference in which social media platform(s) they chose to participate. Teens from households that make less than $50,000 annually are much more likely to report that they use Facebook most often. From the study’s data there seems to be much more diversification of social media networks the more affluent the home the teenager is from. One of the more interesting findings through the income perspective is the amount of friend overlap on a teen’s many social channels. The key takeaways from Pew’s observations in this are:

Implications of the Research

Teens and young adults have always been a key target for businesses and knowing where, and how, to communicate is instrumental to reaching these tech savvy teens.

Not only does the access to technology change the way in which teenagers are interacting and communicating with each other, but it also changes how teens are finding information. In fact, TIME Magazine recently ran a story about how teenagers are utilizing the geo-tags from Instagram posts around college campuses that they are vetting in order to get an idea of what student life on campus is really like.

For years, marketers have been told that social media, and the Internet as a whole, is becoming more and more visual. This statement is only reinforced by the rise in the use of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the implementation of capturing and editing video messages on Twitter earlier this year.
Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Tech – Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015
Cover Photo Credit:
“Texting, texting, texting…” by Tammy McGary Flickr Creative Commons