3 ways to leverage location this holiday season
With most shoppers still choosing physical stores for their holiday shopping, marketers need to bridge the gap between online and offline. Columnist Michael Della Penna explains how combining location and offline insights can help.
As the holiday season ramps up into its glorious full frenzy, marketers are hoping the early forecasts for strong spending come true. In fact, all signs point north as disposable personal income, a climbing stock market and strong consumer confidence continue to grow.
2017 holiday sales are expected to top $1 trillion, or an increase as much as 4.5 percent between November 2017 and January 2018, according to Deloitte. That’s ahead of increases the last few years, which averaged around 3.6 percent. To better capture some of these dollars, marketers should aim to grow their omnichannel marketing efforts, insights and ROI.
With the majority of transactions still taking place offline, marketers should be looking to bridge the online-to-offline gap by combining location and offline insights and behaviors to drive holiday sales. Here are three quick and easy ways to get started this holiday season.
1. Audiences: Target consumers based on their past offline behaviors
One of the best predictors of future behavior is a consumer’s past behavior. Understanding visitation — including frequency and dwell time, as well as visits to various competitive locations — can give marketers valuable insights on numerous metrics including existing shoppers, their level of loyalty and lifetime value based on frequency and dwell time.
Simple segmentation and targeting strategies can be developed at scale across multiple use cases and parameters. Conquesting campaigns, including targeting visitors who visit competitive locations, and loyalty campaigns targeting users based on the frequency or dwell time of a visit are accessible via leading DMPs (data management platforms) and DSPs (demand-side platforms).
Additionally, custom segments based on frequency, competitive visits and dwell time allow for more specific targeting at scale.
2. Attribution: Measure offline visits post ad impression
Once you’ve targeted your audience based on their offline behavior, it only makes sense that you will want to measure it. Attribution providers can certify pixels to measure who has been exposed to an advertisement and track visit behaviors after an exposure to determine if in fact the exposure led to a visit to the desired location.
In addition to measuring offline visits on digital campaigns, some traditional channels such as out-of-home and leading providers like Clear Channel offer visit attribution reporting based on a consumer’s exposure to a billboard. This capability is also extending to other channels like OTT (over the top) subscription services, e.g., Hulu, connected TV (smart TVs) and more.
But not all attribution solutions are equal. In a previous article, I highlighted the various methodologies used to understand a visit and the pros and cons of each.
Critically important to measurement is also understanding the context of the uplift represented in the reporting. Ask your provider to provide benchmarks based on similar campaigns observed within your vertical market.
Finally, if you think you missed the boat and wished you measured but didn’t, don’t lose hope. Some providers are also capable of producing an attribution report based on a post-campaign impression file.
3. Analytics: Insights, AI and more
Perhaps one of the most powerful and important programs a marketer can implement is an ongoing commitment to better understanding and analyzing offline behavior. Access to intelligence platforms that allow a brand to better understand offline behaviors, and more importantly, leverage these insights to better sense and respond to consumer needs, can be instrumental in further differentiating a brand against its competitors.
New tools that persistently map consumers along their journey and provide insights on specific location visits, frequency, dwell time and competitive visits are emerging on the landscape. Look for a location analytics platform that can not only provide these insights but also make them actionable at scale.
For example, if you’re looking to target existing visits who also frequent a competitor, you can build a segment directly from the insights/graph. If you’re looking to increase frequency among users during a key day/time, you can point and click on the graph to pull the associated advertising IDs.
The key to leveraging offline intelligence is to make it actionable at scale and easy to implement for marketers. Growing sophistication on this front will eventually allow marketers to bump existing user IDs against participating IDs to segment known from unknown users.
Using identity graphs and CRM data, known users can be marketed to from the combined data insights and permissions collected from those users through various marketing cloud providers, and unknown users can be marketed to through traditional ad tech channels. This is quite exciting as it gets us close to the one-to-one marketing we have been aiming toward.
The rise of mobile and its impact on allowing brands to better understand, measure and target consumers is ushering in a new era of marketing. This new era will allow brands to bridge the gap between online and offline and enable more targeted people-based marketing across all channels — digital as well as traditional — and we are just getting started.
A Dresner Location Intelligence Market Study released in 2017 found that more than half of respondents say location intelligence is critically or very important, a view that has gained ground over time and will continue to do so. It’s clear that the battle cry for marketing is quickly shifting — to quote the golden rule of another mega-industry, real estate: location, location, location.