6 Tools for Linking Digital Marketing Efforts to Offline Sales

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Deep linkProfits are on the rise for local merchants, and more than half (51%) of small business owners say they intend to funnel this year’s revenue gains into new advertising and marketing initiatives. Worldwide, 93% of marketers increased their mobile ad budgets in 2014, and that figure is expected to continue rising. But marketers right now want something in exchange for the money they’re spending on hyperlocal campaigns — they want proof that their campaigns are working.

Specifically, businesses are asking vendors for more sophisticated ways to link their digital marketing campaigns to offline sales. Only 18% of marketers currently say they feel “very confident” in their ability to measure mobile ad ROI. In order for that number to increase, marketers will need to partner with hyperlocal vendors that provide online-to-offline ad attribution. Here are six examples of vendors that they could work with.

1. Telmetrics: Integrate call tracking into paid-search.
When businesses run multi-channel campaigns, it can be tough to determine where new customers are actually coming from. Telmetrics provides businesses with a way to do just that. The hyperlocal vendor offers clients trackable phone numbers that they can place in any advertising campaign, online or offline. In addition to discovering which ads are driving actual calls, businesses also collect demographic caller profiles, caller sentiment, peak call time information, and they can track what was discussed on individual calls. Mobile call tracking solutions are available to measure phone leads generated by mobile ads, as well.

2. Placed: Quantify the value of mobile ads.
Placed’s Attribution platform provides a way for marketers to measure the impact that mobile ads are having on in-store visits. Placed Attribution uses direct measurement and provides merchants with reports on store visits, standard lift, and impression features. Tags and technical resources are not required for implementation. Merchants who use Placed Attribution are able to visualize the relationship between mobile ad impressions and in-store visits, complete with conversion rates and the projected reach of individual campaigns.

3. NinthDecimal: Gather real-time insights around digital campaigns.
Businesses don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on online ads without any way to verify that they’re actually working. NinthDecimal’s Location Conversion Index (LCI) measures real world behaviors at the point-of-sale and ties those behaviors to campaign exposure. Rather than tracking total store visits during a campaign, NinthDecimal’s LCI measures increases in foot traffic, taking into account seasonal adjustments and historical visit rates. The LCI also controls for customers who shopped nearby without coming inside a store in person.

4. Marchex: Discover how ads are reaching customers.
Marchex is a call analytics solution that offers a way for businesses to get more from their existing mobile, online, and offline ad campaigns. Using keyword-level attribution for every phone call, Marchex is able to identify which ads, channels, and even keywords led customers to call a business and how many of those calls resulted in actual sales. Marchex integrates with bid management platforms, which minimizes the ongoing work for businesses once their campaigns have launched. Marchex’s Call DNA offers visualization and playback technology to graphically display telephone conversations that result from online and offline ads.

5. Sense Networks: Connect mobile ads to in-person visits.
Using a combination of location observation, shopper research, and modeling, Sense Networks tracks how many mobile users clicked on ads and subsequently visited retail stores in person. This figure is dubbed the Store Visit Rate (SVR), and it’s useful to businesses that are looking for ways to measure ROI from their mobile ad campaigns. Sense Networks’ mClick-to-Visit Analytics product provides businesses with specific data regarding the number of mobile users who clicked on their ads and then visited their stores. mClick-to-Visit Analytics is only available for businesses running Sense Networks mobile ad campaigns.

6. PlaceIQ: Measure how online advertising impacts in-store foot traffic.
PlaceIQ’s Attribution product combines offline purchasing data with location data for ad targeting and measurement. The Place Visit Rate (PVR) measures foot traffic at business locations, along with the behaviors of mobile devices exposed to PlaceIQ ads. PlaceIQ takes the total number of devices that receive an ad, and analyzes the percentage of those devices that were then seen at the business’ location. This information can be filtered by time of day or day of the week. PlaceIQ’s data is based on real-time information, versus modeling or projections.

Know of other tools that businesses can use for online-to-offline ad attribution? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is a senior 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.