5 Online-to-Offline Attribution Tools for Merchants

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Even in the year 2016, online-to-offline attribution is still a challenge for small and mid-size businesses. Seventy-nine percent of consumers say they research prices online before making purchases in person. Without the ability to identify which digital channels are most effective, merchants have no opportunity to optimize their strategies or understand the growth opportunities within online channels.

According to a 2016 report by LeadPages and Infusionsoft, 48.5% of small business owners “don’t know” if their marketing efforts are effective. Some merchants use call tracking for this purpose, and some focus on tracking e-commerce channels. But advanced online-to-offline attribution tools now provide small and mid-size businesses with even more strategic ways to evaluate which marketing channels are most, and least, effective. Merchants can then maximize their budgets and stop paying for marketing solutions that aren’t driving offline sales.

Here are five examples of online-to-offline attribution tools for merchants.

1. Octalytics: Connect in-store sales to digital marketing efforts
For retailers and service industry businesses, Octalytics offers a way to connect online marketing to offline sales. When a consumer clicks on an ad and visits a merchant’s website, that website sends the information to Octalytics and Octalytics begins tracking the consumer’s online activities. When the consumer eventually visits the store and makes a purchase in person, the cashier asks for his personal information, and that data gets noted in Octalytics. The store then follows up on the transaction by emailing the customer a loyalty coupon. When the customer clicks on that coupon, his information is sent to Octalytics and the dots get connected. Octalytics allows for manual or automatic data entry, and it can fully integrate with any CRM and ERP.

2. Atlas: Tying offline sales to online ad spend
Atlas is Facebook’s answer to offline attribution. Formerly an ad-serving platform, which was acquired from Microsoft in 2013, Atlas was relaunched in 2014 with a focus on audience-based targeting and online-to-offline measurement. Atlas offers a way for Facebook advertisers to bridge the gap between online impressions and offline purchases. Merchants upload their POS data, and Atlas uses the information to determine whether the merchant’s online ads are influencing offline purchases. Atlas tracks which channels, platforms and publishers within online campaigns had an effect on in-store sales. It also provides specific views into actual results based on location, gender, device and age.

3. Google AdWords: Understand which campaigns drive the most store visits
Google makes store visit conversions available to certain AdWords advertisers with multiple physical stores, including retailers, restaurants, hotels, and auto dealerships. Using anonymous, aggregated statistics, Google is able to create modeled numbers to estimate the number of people who click on an AdWords ad and later visit the merchant’s store. Google’s data isn’t tied to individual people, and store visit reports are more precise when the number of store visits is larger. Still, store visit conversions can help merchants who advertise on Google better understand their ROI and make more strategic decisions on ad creatives.

4. PlaceIQ: Connect real world results with omnichannel marketing
PlaceIQ’s platform connects physical and digital consumer behaviors. The company’s suite of attribution products measure things like actual foot traffic that’s driven to physical locations by digital campaigns and in-store sales that resulted directly from campaigns. Thanks to a partnership with 84.51°, PlaceIQ can measure sales lift from media campaigns through real-time location data and offline purchasing data. The company’s Place Visit Rate (PVR) also tracks foot traffic and measures the direct effect that digital marketing has on consumer actions.

5. Simpli.fi: Identify shoppers who visit after being served a display ad
Earlier this year, Simpli.fi introduced Conversion Zones and Total Visit Rates, which allow businesses to identify the number of users who visit their stores after being served display ads. Merchants who work with Simpli.fi can setup customizable geo-fences around their businesses, or any other physical locations, and they can track the total number of consumers who received their mobile ads before entering those zones. When results are strikingly different depending on the creative of an ad or the mobile placement, then businesses can make adjustments to their campaigns in real-time. Simpli.fi uses inter-device matching to scale campaigns without having to expand the targeted locations.

Know of other platforms for online-to-offline 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.