How to implement a mobile attribution strategy

Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly, driven by digitalisation.

A huge 60 percent of shoppers now ‘web-room’, where they research online and buy in store, while 51 percent practice the reverse – ‘showrooming’ – highlighting how online and offline actions can no longer be viewed in isolation from one another. Instead, to maximise a campaign’s success, brands must recognise that the path to purchase is most often a multifaceted journey across different devices and locations, where all steps should interact seamlessly with one another.

For brands, especially retail stores deploying mobile campaigns, this involves moving away from the ‘last click wins’ approach and examining what attribution actually means: store visits and purchase. It’s therefore important to understand how mobile helps consumers move down the purchase funnel and allows brands to evolve their approach to attribution accordingly. For example, products could be researched on a mobile and then purchased in store, or vice versa, or bought offline immediately with no prior research. Through understanding these different paths to purchase, brands can build a detailed understanding of consumer behaviour across the entire customer journey, and use this data to develop effective campaigns.

However, obtaining this information can be difficult. While brands are able to measure clicks and keyword searches and track the content that consumers are viewing, it is often challenging to find out whether this has led to an offline sale, or if in-store research has resulted in an online purchase. To address this, accurate location data is key. By utilising location data, brands can bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, understand who has visited which store, and determine how this correlates to clicks and campaigns. This can then in turn be combined with third party sales data, as well as brand studies, to measure both the ROI on product purchases, and the emotional responses to ad campaigns. Through this approach, brands can produce a comprehensive mobile attribution strategy that shows the full picture, taking into account not just clicks, but more importantly footfall, brand perception and sales.

In addition to enabling brands to monitor the relationship between online and offline attribution, location data can also be used to address digital’s other major shortfall: customer profiling. Digital-centric profiling methods only provide a view on our digital lives and interests, missing out on other vital pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is the modern consumer. The types of locations that one visits in the real world gives a far more comprehensive understanding of who that consumer really is. By augmenting digital data, with location data, brands are able to develop a high-definition view of the consumer.

Location provides a wealth of contextual information, and allows brands to understand the impact of digital advertising on real world behaviours, so that they know the right moment to engage the key target audiences. Location can determine who the most responsive audiences are and when the best time to serve the advert is. Through this approach, it’s possible to understand these important moments of receptivity in the customer journey, and segment these to serve dynamic and personalised messaging. Understanding the customer journey, and where they are on that path, by using location data can therefore dramatically enhance engagement, both in store and online.

Mobile provides the purest understanding of the consumer, by taking the established digital approach and enhancing it with location data. It is therefore vital that when implementing a mobile attribution strategy, brands look beyond digital, and account for location combined with sales information and brand studies. Without this, key insights will be missed; for example, despite the hype proclaiming the death of the high street, over 80 percent of purchases still happen offline, with bricks and mortar stores benefiting from the rise of ‘web-rooming’. To compete in today’s digitalised world, brands need to understand how all channels interact with each other, as only then will they be able to understand the full picture, and the diverse customer journey.

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