Facebook is combining its online data with GPS tracking to find out how many of its ads result in bricks-and-mortar conversions.  

This update comes as a result of recent partnerships with point-of-sale systems, such as Square and Marketo, which will allow stores to measure the impact of Facebook advertising on in-store sales.

Additionally, retail marketers will gain better options for optimising ad creative, delivery and location-based targeted based on the resulting data captured by the offline conversion API, plugged into cash registers and sale software.

‘Game changer’

The ability to track the influence of Facebook on offline sales will cement relationships between the social network and its extensive group of advertisers, who have so far not been able to accurately track the effect social advertising has on high street sales.

IProspect’s head of biddable media, Stuart McLennan, called the update a “game changer for bricks and mortar retailers,” who will be able to assign cost per store visits to their social advertising budget.

“We have been involved in the alpha trials of these features and have to say the results so far have been highly impressive so much so that clients are looking to adopt an always on strategy for driving footfall,” he added.

Share location

Facebook confirmed that store visit metric is based on data from those who turned the location services feature on.

The ability to demonstrate exactly how its ads lead to a purchase is likely to give Facebook a huge advantage within the ad tech power game.

McLennan adds that demand has been high for more precise information on offline sales, and the move is likely to see ramped up spend as offline sales are demonstrably driven from the site.

“Everyone knew Facebook drove footfall, but there simply was no way of measuring this for 99% of retailers,” he said.

As part of a package of new ad tools launched this week, Facebook is also boosting foot traffic with a launch of its Store Locator ad unit.

The feature shows at the tail-end of an ad carousel, and serves as a one-stop-shop for the physical location of the business, information like opening hours and phone numbers, as well as directions how to get there and estimated travel time.

To get offline conversion data through the API, advertisers can partner with IBM, Index, Invoca, Lightspeed, LiveRamp, Marketo, and Square.