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Will Offline and Store-Visit Tracking Become Mandatory?

YP released a report (reg. req’d) that offers a range of data on mobile advertising on its network. The report discusses impression volume, the distribution between operating systems (61% Android), average CTRs by vertical and so on.

What captured my attention, however, was the store visits data that YP is reporting. The company says it’s not sampling but measuring actual lift in store visits after exposure to ad impressions. Here’s the methodology:

To measure store visit lift, our Mobile Labs team compares a control group of users in the target audience who went to the advertiser’s store without seeing an ad, to the group of users who clicked on an ad and then went to the advertiser’s store.

YP reports actual store visits based on measured location data and does not use sampling or extrapolation. We can also provide store visits by individual stores.

YP store visit lift

Source: YP

Last week Facebook released a new Local Insights tool to measure foot traffic near and around business locations, which delivers the most value to advertisers but is free to all businesses with Local Pages.

Beyond that a wide range of marketing providers and analytics companies are measuring offline actions or visits: xAd, NinthDecimal, PlaceIQ, Placed, YP, Acxiom, Marchex, SessionM, Belly, Google, Yext and others. Furthermore GroupM’s Xaxis is operating exclusively on a CPA model, one “A” of which is offline actions.

There’s clear momentum at the enterprise and brand level for visibility into offline visits and actions. Facebook’s move starts to make that data available to SMBs. My belief is that once they get a taste of this information (offline analytics) they’re going to expect this broadly from the marketing providers they work with. It may become a competitive disadvantage not to be able to deliver this type of information.

The methodology that YP is using above doesn’t work well for SMBs because the traffic volume probably isn’t there (control and exposed). That suggests the use of beacons, some check-in mechanism (i.e., Belly), tight geofencing or other approaches to start giving local business owners more data on traffic patterns to their locations.

At the national level, for multi-location businesses, major retailers and brands, I believe that data on offline visits will soon be mandatory. But do you agree? And do you think these technologies will “trickle down” to the SMB level. Do you think SMBs will be interested in this data?

One Response to “Will Offline and Store-Visit Tracking Become Mandatory?”

  1. Anne Kenney says:

    I’m fascinated…and a little scared. It’s bordering on Big Brother-ish to be tracking offline behavior of buyers with beacons, tight geo-fencing, etc. But, if we want that last mile of a closed loop system, it could be very eye-opening.

    Human beings are clever. Will they submit?

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