How many people visit brick-and-mortar stores after seeing digital ads? It’s a complex question, one that many hyperlocal vendors have struggled to answer. But a new study measuring the impact of ad viewability, released just this morning, provides hard numbers confirming that viewable ads perform better than non-viewable ads and can boost the bottom line for brands.
The study was conducted by the location analytics and offline attribution firm Placed, and Oracle’s ad analytics firm Moat, for Integer, a commerce agency with major brand clients including Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Pringles, and Snickers.
The results of the study show that viewable impressions have a significant impact on conversion to store visits, when compared to non-viewable impressions. The store conversion rate for viewable impressions in Placed’s study reached 20.4%. The change in visit rates for viewable impressions compared to non-viewable impressions was 52.9%.
“The impact of viewability doesn’t stop with a click or an online conversion; it impacts the entire consumer journey including store visits as measured by the results from the study,” says David Shim, founder and CEO of Placed. “When a viewable impression improves store visit rates by over 50%, it no longer becomes a nice-to-have, but a must-have for any marketer with an offline presence.”
For Moat, the ad analytics firm, coming up with those results involved appending a Placed pixel to a campaign, which made it possible to differentiate between viewable impressions and all impressions. As a location analytics and offline attribution provider, Placed then compared the conversion rates for users served viewable ads, users served non-viewable ads, and control groups of users who weren’t exposed to the campaign. The goal was to determine whether users who were served viewable ads had higher visitation rates to on-premise locations.
Despite having directly measured more than 2.8 billion store visits across its audience of more than 300 million smartphones, as of March 2018, and having delivered attribution in the form of ad exposure to store visits across more than 500 advertisers and agencies, along with 350+ publishers and platforms, Shim says this marks the first time Placed has brought viewability metrics into Placed Attribution, and the first time online viewability is being measured in relation to offline store visits.
“The results are based on directly measuring impressions by Moat and directly measured store visits by Placed,” he says.
Interest in tracking lift in retail visits from digital ads is on the rise. Back in October, the data and technology provider PlaceIQ and the cross-platform measurement company comScore released a joint solution designed to measure store visits based on ad views. The product was developed to give marketers and agencies a better understanding of the holistic impact of their ads on driving visitation to physical locations and to help media sellers justify the value of their inventory.
In December, the technology vendors Freckle IoT and Tapad announced a solution that would give brands better information about how media affects sales at physical stores. Google has also introduced a conversions API for DoubleClick, which allows marketers to connect in-store purchases to display ads.
As the importance of viewability extends further and further outside of digital, marketers are looking more closely at how their campaigns are actually driving business outcomes. Moat co-founder Jonah Goodhart says today’s study adds to the body of research that firms are developing around the impact of display and video ad viewability on outcomes for marketers.
Like Goodhart, Shim also sees viewability impacting the entire customer journey and anticipates growth in the future.
“In a matter of a few years, viewability has become table stakes for digital advertising,” Shim says. “The results of this study highlight that the value of a viewable impression goes beyond brand metrics and extends into offline actions, including driving consumers into brick and mortar locations.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.