When customers keep their activity online, this attribution is easy to track. Even activity across multiple devices can be properly attributed to its source marketing content. But things change when customers leave the digital realm: Offline marketing results are more challenging to accurately attribute. Too often, marketers are forced to either estimate the offline impact of their SEM, social and other digital campaigns, or they don't factor them in at all.
This creates a distorted view of how these channels are driving returns on investment (ROI). Accuracy in measuring ROI is essential in helping you know how to allocate your resources. Fortunately, improved approaches to offline marketing make it easier to pin down concrete numbers.
Leveraging Location Data
Location data has a central role in online and offline merging. It makes sense that attempts to improve offline marketing attribution would lead this data to generate better insights. According to Search Engine Land and Facebook, Google and Facebook are developing solutions that use a range of location-specific data points, including GPS, Wi-Fi and beacons, to create online-to-offline estimates of how digital campaigns are driving conversions in the real world.
Mobile devices and branded apps are critical for this attribution model, but with most customers owning a smartphone, this data source can track how SEM campaigns are performing.
Tracking Offline Events
A recent development in the race for better offline attribution is the rise of solutions that can integrate with existing customer relationship management and point of sale solutions. Facebook lets brands track conversions in relation to various campaigns and lead advertisements even when the purchase or event occurred in store or on the phone. With this feature, you can upload a purchase file into Facebook and it can match that up to the users who were shown your ad.
This system may not be able to track everything that happens between the start and end points, but it does illuminate the general outcome of leads in a way that makes this conversion tracking much more effective.
Utilizing 3rd Party Companies
As the problem of offline attribution becomes more critical for brands, a number of third-party companies entered the market in hopes of providing functional solutions. As Marketing Dive reported, third-party validation is important to ensure that there is consistency in measurement across platforms.
It's important to note that this attribution often isn't as precise as companies would like — rather than explicitly attributing each conversion to a source, these vendors use their products to make intelligent inferences of which channels drive the strongest results. This is an upgrade for marketers since it offers a better concept of attribution than they've ever seen in the past. Ultimately, though, solutions based on the proliferation of the Internet of Things may be targeted as a platform for an even better offline attribution model.
Every campaign's success or failure is determined by its ROI. This is why we need strong attribution. Without knowing the results of our efforts, every marketer is flying blind, navigating by instinct in a data-driven world.