A blog about entrepreneurship, technology and big data - Payment Analytics, Social Media Management & Marketing

by Murgesh Navar

Tracking brick-and-mortal sales attributable to online advertising

The US census bureau chart below shows how small e-commerce still is. 93% of all dollars are still spent in the store, locally.


Most marketers are still stumped as to how to establish causation between their online efforts and sales lift in the store.  Earlier this year, Facebook announced a new tool Conversion Lift measurement to help advertisers determine how Facebook ads determine their bottom line. This tool requires businesses to upload their sales data into Facebook and is restricted to larger accounts. Google, not surprisingly, has also has been working on a solution to tie clicks on search ads back to in-store traffic, called Store Visits. Store traffic  in the case of Google is determined by user proximity to the advertiser’s location on Google Maps. PetSmart, part of Google’s case study, states 10% of clicks on ads lead to a store visit. Tracking store visits apart, tracking actual sales lift is still very complicated.

The needs of a small-to-medium-sized business is different. Unlike large retailers, small businesses are more focused on finding new customers, because 50% of customers to a typical small business are new. The vast majority of small businesses still operate their own in-house programs, primarily using a paper-based tracking method like mail-in flyers.  Can online and social media advertising be made super simple and easy? Is it possible to show actual sales lift from repeat spending customers attributable to a specific online ad buy? Will businesses finally get rid of the traditional paper based advertising that still sucks up much of the local advertising budgets, yet with no proven ROI metrics? Those are all big questions for the SMB world. Ones we continue to ponder.