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Integral Ad Science: Marketers Still Struggle With Measurement, Attribution

22 percent list in-store attribution as the biggest issue facing marketers today, according to an IAS survey. But expanded online-to-offline measurement tools can help.

Even as the mobile ad industry has evolved, attribution struggles continue to plague digital marketers, with nearly a quarter (22 percent) naming it as the biggest marketing challenge, according to a new Integral Ad Science study — but expanded online-to-offline measurement offerings, from Retale’s ‘Store Traffic Guarantee‘ to Snapchat’s ‘Snap to Store,’ aim to help marketers close the loop.

“In terms of place-based attribution, we’re seeing more solutions in this area, like Snapchat rolling out its own version of online-to-offline measurement,” said Maria Pousa, CMO of Integral Ad Science.

“The ability to light up the consumer journey with beacons [or other technology] in store locations and tie that back to purchase history can help retailers better tailor ad exposure, and optimize channel spend, site selection, and inventory planning,” Pousa added. “Ultimately, brick-and-mortar stores today have a great set of tools to create impressive levels of personalization for the customer experience, once they’ve got the data infrastructure in place.”

In-Store Attribution

So, what do marketers facing challenges in this space need to know about place-based attribution in particular?

Here’s how it works: Consumers who visit particular locations and then share their (mobile) location data with measurement platforms are the key to proving in-store attribution. Some players use a combination of WiFi, GPS, and specialized store maps to track visits within or to a store — such as is the case with Google in-store conversions, which enables marketers to measure how many shoppers visit a store after seeing a search ad. Since today’s consumers have their mobile devices with them at almost every point, it’s easy to map patterns this way though mobile location sharing.

Store visitation analytics platform Placed, a long-time attribution pioneer, is continuing to rack up partners on the buy side and the sell side, building up the scale of its first-party geo-data as 2.3 million active app users share their location information on a daily basis.

Placed CEO David Shim said the Seattle company measures 1 in 100 adults in the U.S., who share over 2 billion first-party locations every day. This vast amount of location sharing is what enables the company to understand movement patterns of customers who have been targeted with particular ads — and it has now tied in-store attribution back to out-of-home advertising as well.

In this vein, Foursquare last year expanded its ad analytics with online-to-offline attribution, sharing daily location insights on a panel of 1.3 million users with Flipboard, Drawbridge, TGIFridays, Adelphic, and Brown-Forman.

Essentially, with these parties — and others, including Facebook, PlaceIQ, and now Snapchat in the mix — exploring mobile location sharing as it relates to online-to-offline attribution, the potential for brick-and-mortar businesses to partner to understand how effective their ads are at driving visits and purchases is better than ever.

Old Media, New Models

Another marketer challenge highlighted by the survey is the shift to bring the power of digital over to traditional media, like TV. While 59 percent said, predictably, that mobile was the biggest revenue opportunity in 2017, programmatic TV was right behind, with many marketers beginning to concentrate their energies in that space.

“We’ve seen over the last few years that the industry is trying to bring the power of digital over to traditional media — particularly the ability to accurately target audiences, the automation of processes, and efficiencies generated by programmatic buying,” Pousa said. “There’s been a lot of effort in this space already by companies like Simulmedia and TubeMogul, and we should see more development that will ultimately enable brands to better plan omnichannel campaigns, with greater ease.”