How Morrisons’ geo-location experiment drove sales and negatively impacted consumer perception of Tesco and Aldi

Morrisons recently experimented with geo-location ads to drive awareness and sales of its fresh produce. Results show a boost in consideration and intent to buy to give it an edge over rivals Tesco and Aldi.

The retailer has traditionally relied on above-the-line advertising to drive footfall across its stores, but – as its recent financial performance indicates – is struggling to compete with discounters.

Against a backdrop of increasing mobile use (millennials now spend on average over three hours per day on mobile devices), coupled with a willingness to share location data thanks to apps like Uber, and Google Maps, Morrisons embarked on an experiment with media agency MEC and LoopMe on a geo-location campaign.

Driving awareness

It wanted to boost consumer awareness of its fresh food offering, something that has been trumpeting in its marketing over the past few years to stand out against rivals.

Consumers within a radius of five kilometers from a Morrisons' store were targeted with key messages promoting the retailer's fresh produce delivered via a predetermined list of premium publisher sites.

The publisher sites the ads ran on were picked because they had a readership that skewed towards women and mums with children. They were served up full-screen HD images of fruit and vegetables with messaging and a call-to-action.

“Brilliant results”

It achieved an engagement rate of four per cent. Results were then analysed by an independent research company, via a post campaign study that retargeted those users who saw the ad as well as control group that did not to determine the impact on awareness and purchase intent.

The supermarket claimed through geo-targeting it drove 450 per cent increase in spontaneous awareness versus non exposed users. Overall 69 per cent of those who received the messages reacted positively.

Purchase intent increased, with 63 per cent of those surveyed saying they had or plan to take action as a result of the campaign, while 22 per cent stated they had or planned to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables in store.

It also enhanced consumer perception of fruit and vegetables at Morrisons.

Results suggested that for all of the aforementioned metrics, Tesco and Aldi were negatively impacted by the campaign.

“Location targeted full screen ads made for a powerful creative canvas and strong consumer engagement,” said Alexandra Davies, digital marketing manager, Morrisons.

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