How to Track Online Data to Offline Sales: The Holy Grail of Digital KPIs by Lauren Oliver

When it comes to measuring ROI of digital ad spending, e-commerce brands seem to make a better go of it. The ease and accuracy of digital display measurement against online sales makes standard metrics such as click counts, click-through rates (CTR), reach, engagement time and cost per acquisition (CPR) perfect KPIs for measuring campaign performance and providing directional data for campaign optimization. And, why wouldn’t it? Once the buyer hits the shopping cart with payment information and reveals their shipping address, those e-retailers are off and running with a wealth of conversion data beyond digital campaign metrics! Who purchased, monetary gains, seasonality, trends and cross selling opportunities are just a few of the data points that will also fuel future CRM programs.

But what about digital marketers whose sales occur mostly offline? Forrester Research, Inc. reports that in 2016, 90% of all retail sales occurred offline. In addition, Mobile Watch reports that 52% of in-store purchasers research products while physically in the same store! Think about the industries where purchases are made mostly offline … real estate, automotive, banking, cell phones and healthcare are just a few. When someone has the flu, they must see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consumer automotive is another because, while it’s not unheard of for someone to buy a car online without a test drive, it’s rare. It’s the same with cell phones because most people still prefer to see the phone in front of them and have it activated immediately. Brands that rely on in-store sales want and deserve to know the true ROI for their digital display campaigns, but figuring out a way to do this has forced many online platforms to get in line and help resolve this dilemma.

Brands that rely on in-store sales want and deserve to know the true ROI for their digital display campaigns, but figuring out a way to do this has forced many online platforms to get in line and help resolve this dilemma.

The popularity of digital display has led most marketers to follow a “me too” strategy. It’s not uncommon to hear CMOs state, “Our competition is in this space so we need to be here, too,” or “People consume most their media online so we need to be where the media consumption is.” But what’s the value of advertising in this space if you can’t measure it effectively and properly assign attribution to it? This has confounded marketers since the advent of digital advertising. It isn’t enough to be in this space because your competition is here, or to simply measure on clicks and views without regard to actual conversions or proper ROI calculations. CMOs with offline sales want to know the true impact of the medium. Is it really driving our business? If so, how much of it is attributed to display? We’ve long known with display advertising, 68% of users won’t leave their current browsing session to click away to an ad. Although they see the ad in real time – the actual visits come later without a click or landing page that might have helped you follow their online journey.

As a long-time direct marketing firm that applied its predictive modeling techniques to offline campaigns, DX Marketing set out to find a solution that could also be applied to the online space. Rather than push display campaigns like most other marketers to online anonymous cookies, devices and shared IPs, we took a different approach. We leveraged our offline modeled audiences and onboarded them into reputable digital exchanges, such as Oracle’s BlueKai DMP. This boosted our campaign results by simply combining an offline audience with online behaviors using real people at real locations – already modeled and qualified, and most importantly, matched to our client’s product or services. As a result, we’ve given a huge underserved group of marketers a concrete reason and rationale to properly allocate their budget in the display space.

How the intersection of offline and online data works is simple. Offline data creates a qualified audience base, so you know you’re reaching the right people. Online data and media optimization close the marketing narrative, so you know you’re reaching your target at the right time. Through this combination, marketers in offline sales verticals are now able to have the same KPI’s their e-commerce counterparts have had for years. It’s changing the game of KPIs and the ones who are in this space are pioneers in some regard. They are one step ahead of their competitors who are still relying on click-through rates, form completions, video views and other online conversions to dictate the effectiveness of their marketing spend and campaigns. Using our approach, one of our customers put it best: “We’ve found the holy grail of digital display.” But there’s more! With Facebook and Google now allowing users to match back their offline data, tapping into our process creates the perfect triumvirate of attribution by allowing marketers to combine and gauge the performance of three major online advertising channels.

If you’re ready to know exactly how to allocate your digital display advertising, give me a call. My team is eager to open up the holy grail of digital for your brand.

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