Credit Where It’s Due: Online-Offline and Offline-Online Attribution

by | Feb 28, 2017 | Data & Analytics

‘Digital’ marketing is just a fad.

For years, the online industry has labelled its staff, channels and marketing activities under a digital marketing umbrella. But digital activity is now a larger component of the mix than ever before – and it’s still growing. We don’t need to separate ‘digital’ and ‘traditional’ anymore.

Soon:

  • Digital marketing will simply be marketing
  • Digital media budgets will give way to media budgets
  • And digital marketing managers will evolve into marketing managers.

For those of us in the industry, this is an exciting (though slightly intimidating) horizon to be walking towards. Luckily, we have the foresight and skills to keep ahead as these definitions shift.

What changes can we expect?

As digital marketers, we need to prepare for online and offline performance metrics to merge.

Similarly, digital sales and in-store sales will be rolled up into a simpler sales metric. The gold standard of in-store/online attribution currently practised by a select few will become the new, best-practice standard.

The days of measuring ROAS and ROI separately are numbered. With digital media consumption growing rapidly in an era where digital investment already outweighs ‘traditional’ media among many advertisers, marketers need a full understanding of the customer journey.

The merger of data and science (popularly and unsurprisingly called ‘Data Science’) has set the perfect scene for the blending of online and offline sales. This union is underpinned by what is becoming more widely known as online-offline and offline-online attribution.

It starts with a few (educated) guesses

Everyone can guess their weight and height, but your estimates will be slightly off (or maybe a bit too generous). The best way to form an accurate assessment of these dimensions is, of course, to measure them.

In the same way, marketers can easily estimate the impact online traffic has on in-store sales (and vice-versa). Unfortunately, truly measuring these metrics isn’t as simple as getting out a measuring tape or a set of bathroom scales.

While they can be complex, an offline-online attribution measurement system doesn’t have to cost millions – as long as it’s planned and executed well. We’ve helped multiple clients scope a variety of options for a fraction of their annual marketing budgets, and we can usually achieve this using a series of already available inputs to guide our recommendations.

Things you can already be doing

If you’re currently measuring both in-store and online sales and traffic, great! You’ve already got the key building blocks in place to start developing some more insights. From here, we’ve been able to assist our clients in several ways.

Here are some things you can begin to do right away:

  • Correlate web traffic with store footfall and sales. Measure this over time to minimise irregularities and outliers.
  • Test the impact of digital advertising on store traffic via ‘exclusive’ sales events that you only promote online.
  • Use your CRM in conjunction with online and store sales to report on influences you can be certain of.
  • Experiment with day-parting and hyper-geo targeting to begin developing an insight into the impact of digital media campaigns on store visits and sales.

How you can evolve in 2017

If you’re not already doing the things listed above, speak to your account manager to find out how we can assist in setting up the foundation blocks. If you’ve already got some of these measures in place, here are some additional pointers worth considering and raising with your account manager:

  • Conclusively marrying web analytics data with store visits and sales
    • This can be achieved via loyalty programs, apps, mobile devices, in-store WiFi and other means.
  • Importing offline data into your web analytics platform
    • This allows offline data to be visualised, segmented and supplemented by online data.
    • This can be scheduled for automatic upload.
  • Trialling software and tech-based solutions
    • Speak to your account manager about some beta opportunities that might be available to you via iProspect’s partnership with Google.
  • Developing a structured testing and experimentation schedule

Are you ready to ditch the ‘digital’ in digital marketing? Speak to us about how online-offline and offline-online attribution can help your business navigate this industry transition.

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