5 Ways to Help SMBs Measure the Value of a Hyperlocal Campaign

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Discounts. Shopping cart and cubes with percentSmall business owners are no longer willing to invest in marketing platforms that can’t provide a strong ROI, however, many local merchants are still unsure of how to quantify the value of their hyperlocal strategies. Nearly half of merchants surveyed in Street Fight’s “2013 Report on the State of the Local Merchant” said uncertainty about results was the single largest obstacle preventing them from investing more in hyperlocal channels.

This is one case where hyperlocal vendors are rising to the occasion by increasingly providing merchants with easy-to-understand metrics and tools that they can use to tell whether their investments are paying off. When vendors make it easier for merchants to evaluate the performance of their products, they increase the chances that satisfied clients will stick around for a longer period of time. Here are five strategies that vendors can use when helping clients quantify the value of their hyperlocal investments.

1. Articulate the business objective. “When developing the strategy, it’s important to clearly articulate the business objective (i.e., ‘Re-sign cobrand account XYZ at profitable terms’) and the marketing objective (i.e., ‘Shore up brand loyalty with cobrand XYZ to drive market share’). As the program performs in the market, your team can monitor the results against the success metrics. When the results are analyzed, it becomes a clear decision. If the program is not delivering the expected results, it’s time to either tweak the implementation based on the test/control, or try a new approach altogether.” (Gregory Gresh, ZNAP)

2. Emphasize CTR and conversions. “There are only two metrics that matter in mobile advertising: click-through rates and conversions. Businesses must pay careful attention to them. If you’re not seeing the numbers grow, it’s time to re-think the creative. One of the most effective ways to increase engagement is to have a clear call to action and offer. A compelling offer will significantly increase your click-through and conversion rates. Without question, localizing your ads is the best way to increase click-throughs and conversions. The closer a mobile phone user is to a storefront or office, the more likely the local mobile ad will turn into business. (Jason Crilly, NearWoo)

3. Valuable metrics vary by activity. “Metrics vary by activity type and format — web, tablet or mobile. Conventional web metrics are being used for mobile, but we’re already seeing our clients use new forms of interaction — shake, scratch, drag and swipe, which take advantage of the user’s device and help generate awareness among users. … We look at all metrics, of course, but conversions — often referred to as navigation — are most valuable, meaning the user completed a quantifiable action triggered by the ad.” (Dvir Reznik, justAd)

4. Bring the big picture to life. “The focus should be on the overall viability of the program, not the performance of one individual channel. The overall strategy should set out the specific metrics that will be measured, and each channel should be evaluated through a test/learning plan that includes a rigorous control cell. For a program that focuses on brand awareness, I would recommend paying attention to clicks, downloads and shares. However, for a program that is meant to drive sales, I would suggest concentrating on shopping cart statistics and sales. For a mobile technology platform to pay off, it needs to enable merchants to maximize products per customer through cross-selling and up-selling. (Gregory Gresh, ZNAP)

5. Optimize for performance in real-time. “Marketing is about A/B testing and with today’s selection of mostly free tools, it’s easier to make decisions. When any activity can be tracked, often in real-time, marketing professionals have access to data that can help understand what’s working, what’s not, and what’s worth fixing. … We allow clients to create variations of the same ad, managed through a single smart tag. Instead of running a single ad on multiple networks and optimizing after 24 to 48 hours, our clients are creating multiple versions of their ads, then running them on multiple networks and optimizing the creative during the campaign.” (Dvir Reznik, justAd)

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.