GroundTruth’s New Ad Model Promises Actual in-Store Sales

GroundTruth was the first company to introduce a “cost per visit” (CPV) mobile ad model almost exactly a year ago. It tracks online ad exposures to store visits and asks advertisers only to pay for foot traffic to physical locations. Since that time others have introduced similar concepts.

At the Place Conference in September in New York last year we ran a panel asking whether CPV would disrupt existing ad models. As one might expect there was disagreement among the speakers, although they all felt that it was a compelling proposition.

And late last year GroundTruth publicly said that 80% of the brands presented with the CPV idea had a positive response and had committed to campaigns. Yesterday, the company went even further, announcing a new performance-ad product for CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies.

It asks them to pay only for “SKU-level sales” in stores — actual sales of individual products — and charges them on that basis. The pay-per-SKU ad models are being presented under the umbrella heading: “true performance.”

CPG companies spend more than $200 billion on marketing annually and more than half of that is now digital. But some surveys have shown brand skepticism about the efficacy of digital media and marketing. Think of the famous episode where P&G pulled $140 million from its digital ad budget and sales increased.

One of the interesting things about CPV and now the SKU-based sales model is that it shifts the “risk” from the marketer/advertiser to the platform (GroundTruth). Of course buying sales will be more expensive than buying clicks or impressions because of this. The company is using a range of partners (IRI, Kantar Worldpanel, Nielsen Catalina Solutions and Ansa) to validate the in-store sales.

This is a fascinating development to watch. Blis is a also selling a pay-per-visit model and PlaceIQ uses Kantar to capture store-sales data for analytics purposes. Retale, which had a similar, “guaranteed visits” model has shuttered operations in the US.

GroundTruth CMO Eric Hadley will be at LSA18 to discuss CPV and the company’s findings around these new models in a session called “The Value of a Visit.”

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