Location Marketing Metrics: How To Pick the Right Tool For The Task
There's no one tool that will do the job of knowing whether a targeted mobile ad did its work, says Verve's Tim Gough.
Location-powered marketing at last has a true spectrum of measurement methodologies at its fingertips. Now, we must perfect the art of choosing the right metric for every campaign.
Clearly, we have a growing toolkit. Viewability; on-target demo verification; clicks, secondary actions, and conversions; cost per store visit — these metrics all promote relevance. Then there is the full range of performance measurements, including incremental visits, incremental sales — the list goes on, and it’s growing. With all this choice before us, however, the distinctions between the right approach and the wrong selection are at times highly and/or subtly nuanced.
Take, for instance, the aim of connecting mobile-ad performance to observed in-store visits. Would you turn to cost per store visit (CPV) as the measurement of whether an ad drives in-store traffic, or would you call upon cost per incremental store visit (CPIV)? Even though there’s just a word, or a letter, of difference between the metrics’ names, one of the two is problematic if not matched carefully to the campaign goals in question. In some cases, the wrong choice can even hurt future campaign outcomes. And so, to understand the difference between CPV and CPIV, let’s take the two metrics a step at a time. Out of our analysis, we’ll illustrate a four-step approach to picking the right measurement from mobile marketing’s toolkit every time.
- What is Cost Per Store Visit? In a nutshell, cost per store visit is a measurement of how much media spend was associated with a visit to a store. Essentially, CPV is based on a count of visits which were influenced by the brand’s media budget.
- So, What’s the Problem with Using CPV as a Performance Metric? Problems arise if we interpret CPV as a blanket metric for performance. The difficulty comes down to the term influenced, which does not mean — in any way — that the consumer’s decision to visit the store was driven by the advertising message.
- What’s Cost Per Incremental Store Visit? CPIV is a measurement of store visits that are actually attributable to ads served. The metric emerges from careful use of unexposed control groups, designed to capture visits which would have occurred naturally. In doing so, CPIV enables an advertiser to learn how their media spend truly drove performance, and to learn which tactics and audiences were more effective than others.
- Defining the Difference, Part One — The Setup: Imagine two similar campaigns, both with the objective of driving visits to a quick-serve restaurant chain. The first campaign is targeted against a universe of consumers who have visited the chain previously. The second targets a set of competitive consumers, seen frequently at competitor restaurants across the brand’s vertical (and beyond).
- Defining the Difference, Part Two — Results: Did you guess what would happen? The observed CPV metrics in the first campaign turn out to be much lower than in the second campaign. But that’s where the problem comes in. Remember that the lower-cost first campaign tapped into the chain’s loyal customer base, and so the natural visit rate was already high. See the issue? For all the relevance the first campaign generated, using CPV as a metric fails to find for the authentic value of the tactic — and the ad itself — in terms of incremental store visits. Meanwhile, the second campaign, while costing a bit more per action, generated significant incremental visits to the restaurants. By accounting for natural visits, the advertiser’s learnings completely change.
This is not to say that CPV cannot be used to optimize a campaign. There is at least one special case where CPV proves an effective currency with which to buy mobile advertising: when brands mean to influence purchasing behavior during regular store visits. In this use case, an advertiser wishes to drive in-store sales lift. The lift is generated by serving impressions to consumers highly likely to make visits regardless of exposure — such as shoppers of a CPG brand at a grocery store they already frequent.
Again, and as we can see in the above example, picking the right tool for the task is king. Now, we turn to a template for picking the right metrics — one that brands and marketers can use going forward.
The Golden Rule: Aligning Objectives with Success Metrics
In general, location-powered marketing should always be thinking about four strategic props when it comes to selecting metrics for a given campaign:
- Who do brands and marketers intend to reach?
- When, where, and in what context will they reach the audience in question?
- How will the ad inspire a consumer to act?
- What is the best metric to prove either behavioral change as a direct result of exposure to the ad, and/or what is the best metric to prove efficiency of delivery against audience and context?
The job of an agency or media partner is then to define the right targeting, delivering on the agreed measurement approach.
The golden rule here is to ensure that the overarching campaign objective is aligned with the metric employed. Taking a step back and considering the right tools for the task — it’s a small price that location-powered marketers must now pay for living in measurement-empowered times.
*Tim Gough is VP, Insights and Analytics at Verve. He joined Verve in November 2015 after a decade at shopper tracking provider dunnhumby. Gough most recently served as VP of media solutions at that company. In his current role, Gough has been charged with expanding Verve’s campaign analytics capabilities and providing performance insights designed to show whether an ad led to a real-world sale.