For retail marketers, there is a persisting concept that only offline marketing tactics drive in-store sales and only online tactics drive e-commerce, with little to no ability for cross-pollination.
In the study, Digital Video at the Inflection Point, Sequent Partners found that the majority of retail marketers say digital video is successful for e-commerce business, but not necessarily for offline sales. The authors suggest that this is due to classic organizational structures at retail businesses, where the digital and in-store teams are separate, fueling a lack of education about how online tactics can drive offline sales.
But the strategy for online-to-offline conversion is there if you know where to look.
Innovative video technology and measurement strategies are available along with offline conversion solutions from digital leaders like Google and Facebook. Bringing these concepts into your retail video marketing mix is a necessity for driving offline measurement, and it all starts with holding media accountable to business results.
Marketing Shifts to Accountable Media
External verification started because of the ubiquity of online ads and the need for marketers to understand, at a base level, who actually viewed an ad. It has evolved into a need to prove return on ad spend (ROAS) across the digital landscape; a study from late 2015 by the ANA found that 97 percent of marketers believe that all digital media owners’ inventory should be measured by a third party, proving how ingrained this is in the marketplace today.
In light of recent issues with how Facebook quantified a video “view,” the need for this external measurement is obvious across media types and executions. But it’s important to note that these tactics can be applied to more than completion and click-through rates for retail marketing campaigns and actually verify sales outcomes. In fact, the biggest players in the digital advertising space are starting to roll out new online-to-offline measurement capabilities, using third-party partners, for retail brands.
Facebook and Google Are Shifting to Offline Sales Outcomes for Retail
Reacting to an obvious marketplace need, both Facebook and Google recently rolled out new solutions for measuring offline sales, specifically for retailers. In a move to shift beyond their “walled garden” approach to user data, both companies now permit independent third parties to measure ad effectiveness.
A shift of this magnitude by influential companies supports the trend of retailers expecting offline sales measurement and the need for the media industry to comply.
In June 2016, Facebook announced a number of new ad formats and options for retail marketers to help prove ROAS. Retailers can now can execute dynamic creative, generate maps that personalize location, showcase product availability based on online shopper behaviors and, most importantly, measure foot traffic as a result of campaigns.
Working with third-party measurement providers and partners, such as Nielsen Catalina Solutions and Oracle, Facebook now allows brands to join objectively culled data from its platform and other channels so they can tie their advertising to in-store traffic and sales.
Google recently rolled out new solutions for online-to-offline measurement for retail marketers as well, with the most important aspect being the switch to using logins, instead of cookies, to track users’ actions across the internet. This effectively links their behavioral data across multiple devices, apps and sites, providing enhanced cross-device targeting for retail marketers.
Given that consumers own an average of 3.64 connected devices, Google can use their login information on phones, tablets and desktop to provide ads to relevant consumers throughout their day and across devices.
Google also is adding location information to ads to help drive in-store sales for participating retailers. An early pilot of the program with Home Depot delivered an 8X ROAS. Maps provide consumers a reason to act, so it’s fairly intuitive that providing location information will drive increased sales, and then measurement tools and correlating data can confirm those actions.
Tracking Offline Sales Is Possible Across Ad Types, Including Video
This offline sales measurement is great, but, as Facebook and Google are currently only launching these solutions in display, the questions is: can it work with video? The answer is yes, and the results are pretty impressive.
Using third-party measurement, it’s possible for marketers to see both e-commerce and in-store sales results from retail video marketing campaigns. In perhaps one of the purest expressions of omnichannel marketing, we helped a top-10 retailer drive in-store traffic and purchases through 1-to-1 digital video.
To do this, the retailer onboarded their CRM file so that we could target known buyers. Once the consumers were identified, our team created 510,000 personalized video variations, all using the same base creative but bringing in deals, products and locations relevant for each specific viewer. These video versions were dynamically delivered to 2.2 million shoppers, with a map showing their nearest store location and an interactive CTA button for online purchases.
The campaign yielded an $8.70 return for every dollar spent on advertising, which is a strong return for any retail video marketing campaign.
Retailers Need to Demand Accountability Across Media and Executions
Connecting consumers to appropriate products online is not new, but technology is stepping in to show the real sales impact of these tactics for retail marketers. As third-party verification becomes the norm for outcome-based marketing tactics and digital advertising giants make an investment in the same space, more retail marketers are likely to demand accountability across their media, including digital video. What wasn’t possible just a couple years ago is now probable—and available to retail marketers who have been waiting for this all along.