"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Lauren Moores, vice president of analytics at Dstillery.
I recently bought a dress at a Uniqlo store in New York. Given the mobile soapbox upon which I typically stand, this may surprise you. Well, I have to admit that I am an in-store shopper. For me, it’s about the convenience, not the experience. I like to leave the store with goods in hand. Luckily, I live in a city that allows me to live mobile and buy local. I am often spurred by a mobile message from the brand.
When it comes to shopping habits, I’m not alone. As much as ecommerce is a huge and burgeoning industry, most purchases are made in stores – now and for the foreseeable future. What is mobile’s contribution to those purchases? We’re starting to figure that out.
The impact of mobile advertising is hard to measure. Mobile measurement is often absurdly simplistic, with marketers relying on click-through rates to indicate customer engagement. Evaluating the true return on mobile advertising may be difficult, but mobile data could be the key to solving attribution challenges. Mobile technologies allow us to measure the effect of online display on offline purchases, particularly in-store.
Mobile has changed the physical shopping experience for us all. While shopping, we use our mobile devices to check prices and ingredients, send photos to friends, text and more. Marketers are beginning to use the same vehicle to engage with customers in-store for messaging, coupon distribution and product recommendations.
To engage with customers while they are in-store, marketers have several options, including iBeacon, IndoorAtlas and Nomi. These use the mobile device as an indicator of where a customer is in the store, similar to the passive people meter from now-defunct Arbitron, which was purchased by Nielsen. The device ultimately serves as a physical store measurement that was previously performed by human counters. This means that consumers’ physical store visits can be connected to digital interactions with the marketer.
Alternatively, even without the integration of mobile device tracking, mobile data signals and ad opportunities already allow us to create metrics on store visits. By putting location in context, we can measure user interaction in physical stores and use this data to measure the impact of how digital campaigns affect offline behavior. This measurement can be basic by looking at lift pre- and post-campaign. Better yet, it can go a lot further by comparing online and offline interactions between a campaign audience and control audience to more fully understand the campaign’s impact on consumer behavior.
Mobile continues to evolve our ability to provide better measurement. A great example is the latest mobile app from Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor’s parent company. It allows users to scan existing print ads and buy items directly without the barriers of additional online sign-ins and screen changes.
While measurement of mobile advertising may still have issues, we have made great strides in measuring the overall user path to purchase. When we look at the full scope of digital media and consumer experience, mobile is a key to solving this measurement challenge and addressing the issue of attribution and ad effectiveness.