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Closing the Loop in Performance Advertising – Tracking Offline Sales
Image Credit Takashi Hososhima Creative Commons license

Closing the Loop in Performance Advertising – Tracking Offline Sales


Performance advertising has witnessed incredible growth in mobile commerce. Over the past couple of years we have seen mobile traffic and sales increase significantly across the network. Back in January 2011, just 2.3% of traffic and 2.22% of sales originated from a mobile device. Fast forward to the present and this has increased to a staggering 34% and 30.59% respectively

Mobile commerce has completely changed the purchasing landscape. While a significant volume of transactions are driven online through mobile websites, this growth has also opened up opportunities for advertisers with a high street presence. Savvy advertisers are able to take advantage of the technology afforded by mobile devices to help drive a successful multi-channel strategy.

Publishers have also been extremely innovative within the mobile space. Before affiliate tracking was placed on mobile versions of advertiser sites as standard, publishers were at the forefront of coming up with ways to benefit from an increase in mobile traffic and an ability to ‘close the loop’ by driving mobile traffic to stores. Incentivised sites lead the way and have continued to evolve their offerings to allow advertisers to target consumers.

Location based marketing has also played a major role in this, allowing advertisers to target consumers who are in close proximity to a store. By offering discounts on certain products or ranges and having in store exclusives helps to drive footfall into a physical store.

Once in store, advertisers are also able to benefit from mobile innovation. For example, additional product information can be provided when a barcode is scanned. The concept of ‘show-rooming’ – where consumers are able to use mobile devices when in store to compare prices was once perceived as a threat. Now advertisers are more prepared to see this as an opportunity. By providing in store wifi for example and encouraging visitors to access the internet can be extremely beneficial – especially if they are required to provide details to connect to wifi so they can be remarketed to with future offers.

Having monitored mobile traffic over a significant period of time has allowed us to see the typical peaks for mobile traffic. We see mobile traffic, particularly traffic through handsets peak at weekends. This highlights the opportunity for advertisers to take advantage in the increase in mobile traffic to drive customers in store as well as online. Exclusive mobile in store offers can facilitate additional footfall and help increase spend when in store.

One of the first advertisers we saw adopting a strategy to drive customers in store through mobile was a large department store and they had some very impressive results. They offered a mobile discount that could be redeemed either online or in store. Where vouchers were redeemed in store this was at the point of sale and was able to be recorded as a sale through the affiliate channel and attributed to the correct affiliate. This offer saw the majority of redemptions in store and 70% of these were new customers. Additionally, to receive the discount the customer had to provide an email address allowing the advertiser to target them with future offers.

A more recent example of an advertiser benefiting from driving footfall from mobile devices is a high street brand. They offered a code that was available to use when purchasing online or in store. Average order values were 10% higher when the customer purchased in store. With the ability to upsell additional products in store, it is extremely valuable for advertisers to drive in store activity.

In order for advertisers to take advantage of the opportunities to close the loop between online and offer, the redemption of vouchers in store is key. They need to have the ability to process the vouchers at the point of sale and be able to attribute this back to the affiliate channel and ultimately the publisher that has driven the sale.

The development of mobile commerce has meant that advertisers are in a stronger position to reinforce their multi-channel offering. Far from just allowing consumers to purchase directly through a mobile device, it has allowed for greater targeting and ability to drive consumers into stores.

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Matt Swan

Matt Swan

As a Client Strategist at Digital Window Matt works with advertisers across both Affiliate Window and platforms. The role involves working closely with the account management and business development teams on delivering and optimising affiliate campaigns.

Matt also works on research projects both for individual clients and overall market trends. He has recently undertaken research into the mobile network sector and also investigating the growth of m-commerce within the affiliate channel.

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