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Despite New Mobile Tech, Marketers Still Favor Coupons For Offline Attribution
The relative simplicity of coupons makes them popular with marketers.
There are now a variety of ways to determine whether someone who was exposed to an ad visited a store (that includes TV and out-of-home). While there are different methodologies, a number of companies, such as xAd, NinthDecimal, PlaceIQ, Placed, Google and Facebook are increasingly mapping online and mobile ad exposures to in-store visits.
Online to offline attribution is important because the physical world is where most purchases occur — trillions vs. billions — and marketers won’t have a true understanding of the efficacy their media buys without these metrics (unless they’re pure e-commerce).
In the past, marketers sometimes used coupons/codes for offline attribution and later call tracking (as a proxy for store visits). Yet what a new survey and report from Marchex discovered is that despite an increasing arsenal of sophisticated methods for offline attribution, marketers still favor coupons.
Among the survey questions were two about mobile marketing channels and campaign objectives. Mobile web display advertising was the most common channel, followed by in-app display, and then video. Search was fourth on the list. Whether this is because of limited mobile search inventory or a turn toward other channels is an open question.
The top objective for these marketers was lead-gen, followed by store visits/purchases. Thereafter, marketers were trying to generate mobile-commerce sales (difficult). Driving calls and app downloads followed as desired outcomes.
Among the roughly 48 percent of survey respondents seeking to motivate store visits and purchases, “mobile coupons” was the most common way to measure the impact of campaigns. It was also regarded as the most effective way to do attribution — admittedly, coupons do have the advantage of being able to track sales vs. store visits.
The second most common tracking and attribution method was “using mobile phones as in-store points of purchase.” It’s not entirely clear what this means but could refer to in-store mobile payments or in-app payments conducted within the store.
The survey findings remind me of a recent study carried out by the IAB that shows marketers recognize the value of “big data” but are often stymied in their ability to understand and fully utilize it. The simplicity and familiarity of coupons (and consumer appeal) are likely responsible for marketers’ continued reliance on them as an attribution tactic.
The Marchex survey was conducted online in September and October more than 250 agencies, publishers and brands.