Measuring Foot Traffic from Digital Ads. Tracking Offline, Online.

Ads are everywhere.

Alright, so that comment is nothing new, nothing you haven’t heard or even said before yourself. And you’re probably also aware that search engines like Google track your search history to get to know you better and ensure that the ads you see online are only pertinent to your actual interests. You’re probably also aware that brand marketers use Google-specific tools to help gain access to those insights — your interests — to make certain that if they’re offering a product or service you’d be interested in, then it will reach you.

Online marketing allows campaigns to be tracked, measured, analyzed, optimized and more, but what about offline?

Right now, marketers can do some pretty amazing 007 creeping, like track every page you visit on a site before you contact a business, track which site brought you to the brand’s site and also track each time you open a marketed email and pre-plan every email sent to you afterwards. Marketers can also geo-target ads so they only show up in your search engine when you are within a certain radius from a business’s physical location.

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So what’s next?

This past week, social-mobile player Foursquare announced the launch of its latest product, ‘Attribution.’ A social/location discovery platform that connects digital ads to actual foot traffic going to a business’ physical store. Attribution claims to be able to measure the grey area between the view of an ad to everything you do offline/on foot before entering the business to purchase.

And don’t worry, there are no privacy issues here. Analytics used to measure your behaviour and actions after seeing an ad is strictly pulled when you agree to turn on the location-sharing feature from your mobile or download a check-in app like Swarm.

With the ability to reach 1.3 million Americans, Foursquare’s Attribution platform is quickly becoming one of the bigger players among competitors xAd and PlaceIQ.

Where has Attribution by Foursquare launched?

Currently, digital ad measurement platform Attribution by Foursquare has only launched in the United States, but their future outlook includes going global.

The measurement platform has been in play for several months but only to a few specific internationally recognized brands like restaurant TGI Fridays and spirit conglomerate Brown-Forman (Jack Daniels and Don Eduardo).

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How does location-based marketing work?

When your location sharing is left on, measurement platforms like Attribution can track every store you visit. Brand marketers will create an ad campaign, select its target demographics (ie. 35-to-51-year-old female in Edmonton, Alta.) and then monitor the campaign’s performance with that demographic across web platforms such as Google and Bing, or which ever they choose during their online activities.

For example, let’s say you were watching the Beyonce’s halftime Super Bowl performance online and an ad for Red Lobster popped up at the beginning of the video. So you’ve seen the ad and the video, and a few hours later you find yourself looking for somewhere to go to dinner and you choose Red Lobster. Bingo! That was all tracked for Red Lobsters’ brand marketers to track.

Or maybe you see the ad but it’s had zero impact on you and you choose to eat at the Olive Garden across the street. That’s also tracked.

The great part about all this data is that your marketing team can analyze the data and pivot plans to adjust to the performance of the campaign.

What does this mean for Canadians?

Location-based measurement platforms do exist in Canada, but are more commonly used in larger centers like Toronto and Montreal. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or won’t make its way to Edmonton, Alta. This means Canadians in cities across Canada will no longer need to collect coupons in the near future because the coupons and sale ads will go directly to your phone making great deals far easier to access.

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What does this mean for Canadian Marketers?

For brand marketers in our area, location-based marketing is something we do currently put into play for many if not all online campaigns we launch, it’s called geo-targeted SEO. But with e-commerce sales rising, a platform that can measure the success of a campaign through on-foot traffic is a tool worth watching as it continues to develop, refine and be adopted in more countries.

Are you curious about what location-based online marketing strategies can be implemented for your business right now? Connect with our online marketing team today and let’s talk.