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3 Powerful Social Advertising Tools to Track Offline Transactions

Published: April 24, 2017

Author: Molly Shotwell

Tying offline attribution back to online activity is, for the most part, an elusive and finicky endeavor. However, social advertising is starting to step up to the plate, with various companies offering their own location-based social ad solutions. Below, we dive into a few options available (or available soon) from major social platforms and discuss why your strategy should include investing in ads geared towards these largely mobile-focused solutions.
Facebook currently offers two solutions to connect online and offline activity. The first, Offline Conversions, is not strictly mobile-based – it can actually be used for both mobile and desktop ads. Offline Conversions allows marketers to track when transactions occur in a brick-and-mortar store after a customer viewed an ad on the Facebook platform. To track Offline Conversions, a company must upload data on in-store/over-the-phone purchases. This uploaded data must include unique identifiers so that Facebook can match the purchase to an online user account. In this way, individual unique store visits are tied directly back to specific Facebook users who viewed the company’s ads within a set window, giving advertisers a view into how their Facebook ads are translating into actual store visits.
Facebook’s second and newest location-focused solution is still in the process of testing/rolling out. Store Visits ads were developed for companies with multiple locations and allow businesses to drive customers into specific store locations. These mobile ads include CTAs and ad copy about specific locations so that users nearby can figure out how to visit the store. The ads are only shown to a geo-targeted area (for example, Ad A is only shown to people in Neighborhood A, where Store A is located.) Currently, only resulting information on views/clicks of the ads are available. However, a closed beta is currently in process that uses satellite data and tracking through mobile device location services, polling, and beacons, to track how many users who viewed the ad then visited the store’s physical location. Store Visits is a strong brand awareness play and once additional tracking features for physical store visits are publicly available, it will be a powerful tool for conversion lift.

Store Visits mobile ad example, via Facebook

A third solution was recently announced by SnapChat and is currently being tested. Snap-to-Store allows advertisers to create branded geofilters that appear in SnapChat and can be applied by any users nearby. A user posts a snap with the geofilter to their story or sends it to a friend. Snap-to-Store then tracks if the user or user’s friends who view the snap end up visiting the physical store where the geofilter originated from to determine visitation lift.

Snap-to-Store diagram, via SnapChat’s regulatory filing

So why should you be investing in social online/offline tracking solutions? Without tracking how your store transactions are affected by social advertising, you are blind to how your ads operate as conversions rather than just brand awareness campaigns. In regards to mobile-based solutions: the majority of retail sales still occur in stores, but it’s estimated that US adults spend more than 3 hours a day on a mobile device* and are increasingly relying on these devices to research store locations and products. Purchasing via mobile may be less common, but with mobile advertising that can be targeted by location, businesses can focus on increasing foot traffic and optimizing their ad budget towards individuals who are the most likely to visit and location.
Are you excited to try out these solutions? Let us know your thoughts below!

* https://retail.emarketer.com/article/us-shoppers-still-prefer-make-most-purchases-in-store/58dd8922ebd400061c80f3cf

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