How Mobile Presence Technology Completes the Attribution Puzzle

Over the years there have been lots of purported solutions to the challenge of marketing attribution.  As John Wanamaker famously said in the 1800’s, “half of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” Sadly, many years later, we still don’t have a good answer to the age-old marketing conundrum.  To confound the matter, the addition of new channels has made advertising performance measurement increasingly complex.

Marketing continues to shift to digital, with a greater focus on mobile.  In fact, eMarketer has estimated that mobile will account for 72% of all US ad spend by 2019.  The good news from this is that with the connectivity of mobile devices, and the fact that the vast majority of consumers use them while shopping in stores, marketers now have a powerful new tool for customer communication and measurement.  The paradigm shift to a multi-channel path to purchase means that mobile devices are poised to play a huge role in helping marketers understand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to digital advertising.

By connecting in-store digital location signals (including beacons and WiFi signals) to shopper smartphones, retailers are now able to precisely measure the impact that their online advertising campaigns have on driving physical store traffic.  In fact, any retailer who has a mobile app can easily use that app to help them tie digital advertising campaigns directly to resulting retail store traffic. Using in-store digital location signals and Swirl’s online to offline Attribution software, retailers can complete the measurement loop by accurately connecting digital ad impressions to verified store visits – even down to the level of a particular department within their store. And since more than 90% of retail purchases are made in stores, understanding the physical store traffic that is driven by online ad campaigns is an incredibly valuable capability for retailers.

To illustrate this with a real life example – a specialty retailer we have been working with wanted to better understand the ROI of their online ad spend. By matching the unique advertising identifiers of their mobile app users (IDFAs and GFAIDs) to online media impressions delivered by a major social network, and using the Swirl platform to measure the store visit rate for app users who were exposed to the online ads vs a statistically reliable control group that was not served ads, they were able to precisely measure the incremental impact of the ads on store foot traffic. Armed with this information, they were able to calculate the true return on their digital advertising investment. By applying this capability to future campaigns, the retailer will be able to optimize digital media investments by quickly shifting spend to those campaigns that have the greatest impact on driving store foot traffic (and overall ROI).

Online to offline attribution is one of many new capabilities that are being enabled by mobile presence technology. If John Wanamaker was with us today, he’d finally have a solution for identifying which 50% of his advertising spend was actually wasted.

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