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Mobile to Store Attribution

Mobile to Store Attribution

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The guidelines for Mobile to Store attribution are becoming clearer as the Mobile Marketing Association and adtech companies work to define their measurement standards. BIA/Kelsey estimates the Online to Offline mobile ad market will surge to a projected $5.8 billion by 2016 representing 58% of total mobile ad revenues. The truth is that 4 out of 5 shoppers today, by total retail sales, still buy locally but a growing number of consumers are researching products online before purchasing offline.

The Mobile Marketing Association [MMA] Location Committee was established to:

1) “Give advertisers and their agency and media partners the confidence to invest their ad dollars into a growing new category of mobile ad products and services.
2) “Develop mobile-location data best practices and guidelines around privacy, location ad targeting, tracking and delivery”
3) “Eliminate the friction slowing adoption and empower new innovation around mobile-location within the framework of guidelines and standards to grow the mobile location services and advertising category as a whole”

Location Measurement Attribution:
Nielsen, the consumer measurement company, has 100,000+ mobile panelists who share their location geo-fence and in-store visitation data with marketers to measure advertising impact. Similarly, upstart Placed has a growing number of opt-in consumer panelist who share their location data 1000 times per day as part for the chance to win daily prizes through the Placed mobile app. Both Placed and Nielsen provide a mobile panel based solution to compare your location based advertising audience with the percentage increased store visits.

Google on its own with sponsored Wifi is taking an onmi-channel approach to adding online to offline interactions as signals to path-to-purchase attribution. The measurement within all Google provided services and multi-platform advertising is available today to Google Analytics Premium customers. Mobile advertising has not yet been linked to in-store wifi measurement systems yet as it creates a precarious dilemma on consumer consent as you walk into a store.

Mobile Coupons:
If you’re mobile location campaign is dependent on mobile coupons for consumer intent, you’re advertising offering will have a difficult time proving ROI. Coupons can be placed on Facebook, Twitter, or in a ratcheted up email campaign for practically free. Mobile coupons require multi-part setup between the retailer, brand, point-of-sale capabilities, and are difficult to get advertiser buy-in. Leading with offers post Groupon, especially to local businesses, is a difficult sell as a walkthrough in-store measurement tool.

Transactions Based Attribution:
Mobile payment companies are fighting at the transaction level to link mobile advertising to CRM data at the cash register. Integrating into point-to-sale systems for mobile marketing may work for one particular retailer, but rarely works across the board. eBay’s Paypal, with its integrated ad network, and Google Wallet are taking the lead in combining their advertising businesses with measuring consumer in-store conversions using their proprietary payments platforms. Verifone tried a similar approach with their media arm, but never received much traction on its consumer payments platform. Startups such as Cardlytics have taken the approach of enabling credit card shoppers to add discounts to their account through online banking. Unfortunately, redeeming in-store discounts for individual products outside of the total bucket transaction amount is nearly unheard of due to data sharing restrictions.

Other Attribution Ideas:
Due to their limited scope the “Check-in” model is nearly dead and now with the wrong audience, far beyond the reach of early adopters. If I’m already in the door and willing to self-promote where I am, why would a business want to offer me a greater discount? Foursquare itself has already converted to selling offline data rather than focusing on check-in attributions. To reach an early adopter audience today, you’d be better off enticing consumers with Bitcoin specials.

Bonus methods for attribution include direct retail relationships for enabling in-store programs such as loyalty integrations, access to sales data by brand, or fluctuating product availability information.


As shown by the various attribution methods above, the ability to measure online to in-store consumer behavior has largely been held back by data-sharing restrictions, not for lack of integrated marketing opportunities or finding consumers willing to share their data. By the end of year, only bigger ad dollar budgets are going to come in support for mobile to in-store mobile marketing, pushing forward many of the MMA Location Committee’s initiatives.