Facebook Offers New Store Locators in Ads, Better Offline Attribution
June 14, 2016 | Contributed by: Greg Sterling
While it had a rudimentary version of offline reporting for Local Awareness Ads, Facebook is now introducing more precise “store visits reporting” for offline businesses. In addition, the company is rolling out new “native” store locators (including maps) as a feature in Local Awareness Ads.
Facebook explains in its post:
Store locators on a business’s website can be frustrating for people on mobile, requiring several taps or typing a postal code into a small form. The new store locator removes that friction to help people on mobile find business locations quickly and easily. The store locator shows a map of all the locations a business has nearby. People can click on the map in the ad to see information about nearby locations. Without leaving the ad or app, they can view the address, hours, phone number, website and estimated travel time for each store.
Beyond the store-locator enhanced ads, Facebook is adding the ability to measure store visits driven by those ads. The company’s new “store visits reporting” will show:
- How many visited after seeing a Facebook ad
- The ability to optimize ad creative and targeting based on offline store visits
- Analyze results across stores for future media planning
Facebook doesn’t explain in detail about how it’s measuring store visits. Apparently the company will use a range of signals and data: location services, WiFi and survey data and beacons to determine whether people came into a store. It will also calculate the percentage of those Facebook users (like me) that have location services/tracking turned off to determine visits driven by ad exposures.
Advertisers will be able to determine store visits in near real time in their dashboards. Visitors will be broken down by gender and age.
Facebook is also offering an “Offline Conversions API” that will enable businesses to “match transaction data from their customer database or point-of-sale system to [Facebook] Ads Reporting.” The company has identified a number of partners to help with these analytics: IBM, Index, Invoca, Lightspeed, LiveRamp, Marketo and Square.
Google has recently expanded its Store Visits reporting for AdWords. However Google representatives told me that it’s challenging to do this accurately with small stores in dense commercial areas (e.g., malls) and will probably require beacons.
As local advertisers become more exposed to offline attribution, they will increasingly demand it from media sellers and others offering marketing solutions. Accordingly everyone must prepare to provide as much “offline ROI” data as possible through whatever range of mechanisms available.
With Google’s recent move and today Facebook’s announcement, offline attribution is no longer a futuristic “nice to have.” It’s here — and increasingly mainstream.