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Understanding visits and other metrics in drive-to-store campaigns

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When running a drive-to-store campaign, brands’ ultimate goal is to drive interest for their products and generate in-store visits and sales that will positively impact their bottom line. Having access to these measurable metrics is essential for them to evaluate the effectiveness of their advertising efforts. As drive-to-store campaigns become more mainstream, it’s paramount for advertisers to fully understand the meaning of their offline campaign metrics in general, and what a true visit is in particular.

Campaign providers can measure and calculate visits several ways. To truly compare the impact of multi-platform campaigns, you need to understand what each metric means for each solution.

Self-measured or third-party visit measurement

In drive-to-store, a visit refers to someone who has gone into one of your stores after being exposed to your advertising. To determine if a visit has happened, an identifier is first collected when the ad is served, and then again when the customer goes in store.

Your provider can either measure the impact of the campaign on visits on their own or use a third-party data provider, which is advised to give you impartiality, and the security of knowing that they aren’t marking their own homework.

Working with third-party providers also gives you more flexibility on how to measure visits by choosing the partner that works best for your campaign. For example, some providers don’t have enough reach in certain locations, so having the choice gives you the chance to run successful campaigns worldwide.

Unique or deduplicated visits

It is important to know if your solution presents you with deduplicated visits. Quick refresher: deduplication is the process of eliminating redundant information - in this case, visits measured more than once. That can happen because measurement providers send as much data as they can, which means the same visit might be counted twice or more.

When choosing a drive-to-store partner, check that visits are deduplicated. Cleaning and tidying up visitation data is necessary to have a more realistic picture of your campaign’s impact and metrics that reflect the true price of driving people to your points of sale. The risk of not deduplicating visits is reporting inflated and inaccurate metrics that do not match your offline reality.

Visits v incremental visits and footfall uplift

Incrementality is the measurement of the lift in a certain metric, visits in this case, resulting from an advertising campaign. ‘Incremental visits’ is a calculated metric, as opposed to simply measuring all visits. It takes into account the baseline at which visits happen organically and calculates how many additional visits have occurred.

When possible, calculating incremental visits and footfall uplift in real-time should be the way to go so you have a live reporting on the impact of your campaign. To ensure these metrics are reliable, your provider should try to collect enough campaign data to be statistically significant. To understand the overall impact and the incremental impact of your campaign on in-store footfall, it’s important to have both metrics and to know they are reliable.

Measured visits v estimated visits

At the moment, the best solution to measure visits is the MAID (mobile advertising ID), which provides advertisers with an anonymous identifier to match ad exposure to store visits. It’s particularly helpful for mobile campaigns but relies on users consenting to share their location and MAID for advertising purposes. Giving more choice to consumers and ensuring all targeting is done with their consent is crucial. And the industry is moving towards giving them more control on whether or not they want to share this identifier.

The question now is, how can providers continue to measure store visits without it? This move will increase the need for a robust methodology to estimate total visits based on the sample of visits that can be measured. Understanding what extrapolation could look like for campaigns will become essential for providers to give advertisers a reliable estimated visit metric. When looking at visits, make sure you know whether the metric is measured or extrapolated. Both can be useful but should be reported separately.

How to compare drive-to-store results across solutions

To ensure you are comfortable understanding the results of your drive-to-store campaign and can compare between providers, here’s a handy question list that you can ask them:

  • How are visits measured? Do they use MAID or other identifiers?
  • Do they measure their own results, or do they use third party measurement?
  • Do they deduplicate visits? How do they ensure metrics aren’t inflated?
  • Do they measure lift in visits or only absolute visits? How do they calculate incrementality?
  • Do they extrapolate results? Will you have access to both measured visits and the extrapolated metric?

Retailers have faced a lot of challenges these last few months, so make sure knowing how your drive-to-store metrics work isn’t one. From visits to extrapolation and user consent, you should pay close attention to what your provider can do for you and choose the one that will be the best fit for your goals and deliver the most effective drive-to-store campaign across your channels and verticals.

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