Facebook Mobile Ads Driving In-store Customer Traffic

Are Facebook mobile ads really driving in-store customer traffic?

According to an article posted by The Guardian research conducted by Vizeum and iProspect showed an 11% increase in store visits to ikea for those exposed to geo-targeted Facebook ads

Today consumers are more constantly connected through phones, tablets, eyewear and other devices than ever before. Retail analysts strongly predict, through these devices, customers are exposed to mobile ads, online coupons, blogs, geolocation  apps and online reviews which has influenced customer buying behavior. Retailers are quickly embracing omni-channel strategies in order to leverage online engagement to drive more sales in store.

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From the article:

An experimental campaign put together by Vizeum on behalf of Ikea has given a glimpse of the potential for accurate marketing-spend attribution through the use of social network and mobile phone data.

The test campaign, conducted over two weeks, matched Facebook usage and EE data to measure the uplift in visits to the Ikea store in Cardiff from those who had seen targeted Ikea adverts on Facebook. The results showed an 11% average increase in store visits among more than 172,000 people who were served adverts, compared with an otherwise identical same-size group that had not seen the adverts.

The research measured store traffic uplift from those who had seen Ikea ads over a two-week period. The test delivered 1.4m impressions and saw the biggest impact among 22 to 25-year-olds: there was a 31% increase in store visits among this group. The 26 to 35-year-olds were up 11% compared to the non-exposed group. These visitors gave Ikea a return on investment of 6:1 against their media spend with Facebook, which was geotargeted around Cardiff and ran for two weeks during December 2013 and January 2014.

Phillip Dyte, paid social media manager at iProspect, the agency charged with executing the campaign, explained why this methodology was unique: “Together with Facebook, Vizeum and Isobar, we worked closely to serve News Feed ads to Ikea’s Cardiff audience, ensuring we reached a statistically robust number of unique local impressions. EE then analysed device activity within a geofenced area around the Ikea store – removing staff, people who lived in the area and passers-by. The resulting figures are really clean of misleading variables.”

When asked if the results were a product of the busy marketing environment during December and January, Dyte emphasised the unique methodology which makes this a fair test.

“When people raised the point that it’s Christmas and there’s so much marketing activity going on, our argument was that it’s Christmas for the non-exposed group as well. Everyone will be exposed to the same environment, so you’re not measuring artificial uplift that is caused by the seasonality, because the non-exposed group also has the seasonability. Anything that applies as a variable applies to both groups. The only difference is that some people saw adverts and others didn’t. It’s such a strong methodology – that’s why it’s so bullet-proof.

“This was experimental technology testing an experimental hypothesis. There was no guarantee of success. In the past you would have had to make assumptions and you’ve had to incentivise it using couponing or something, but none of that is really a fair test. But this is a fair test.”

These sorts of partnerships between banks, mobile networks and social networks to combine datasets such as these are becoming more common. Partnerships between mobile data providers – such as Weve, backed by EE, and supermarkets and banks such as Tesco andMastercard – are becoming more common. “Those partnerships are mutually beneficial, but they’re driven by tech which, over the last year or so, has advanced to the level which now allows us to do this,” said Dyte. “People are saying ‘Wow, this is possible now.’ “

Chris Gobby, head of EE mData, said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this innovative advertising effectiveness study with Ikea, Facebook, Vizeum and iProspect. EE mData has unique ability to deliver exciting new insights in the mobile space – combining anonymised and aggregated mobile web and location data to provide landmark results in advertising measurement.”

Richard Morris, managing director of Vizeum, said social media now plays a vital role in the advertising strategy for brands: “This study clearly demonstrates the impact that ads on Facebook have on brick-and-mortar foot traffic for retailers. These innovative strategies that combine mobile, local and social media for our clients are the future of digital marketing. The methodology is brilliantly executed, and the results show clearly, empirically, that Facebook adverts have driven real-world footfall.”

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