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Are My TV Ads Generating Online and Offline Conversions?

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In May 2017, Google announced a new product called Google Attribution 360, based on technology the company acquired in 2014 when it bought Adometry. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the product live, but it promises to close the data gap to help business owners determine which marketing investments are working for them.

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According to the Google Attribution 360 Website, “Google Attribution 360 brings online and offline media together for deeper insights that lead to better performance and higher return on marketing investment for cross-channel campaigns.”

The initial release is focused on two major areas of marketing interest: TV Attribution and Digital Attribution. This is the first time, that I know of, that Google is offering free tools to help television advertisers measure the lift in digital activity in both Google search and the business’s Website.

Television Attribution

Television attribution will use airings data from networks and service providers, and overlay Google search activity (keywords) and Website traffic that is associated with the airings to measure “lift.”

According to the Website: “After TV spots air, TV Attribution analyzes Website and search query activity to determine their impact. Our advanced machine learning models sort through the digital noise, even when spots air simultaneously, to compute incremental impact at the most granular level.”

I look forward to working with my clients who are interested in determining the impact of television on their digital playground.

Digital Attribution

Digital Attribution will help business owners move away from last-click attribution models and build models that give credit for the multiple touchpoints that Google can measure. Digital Attribution will be using data feeds from Google Analytics, AdWords and the DoubleClick Campaign manager.

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One of the interesting claims made by Google on its Website is its plan to show how offline conversions are related to a digital activity. Car dealerships, realtors, repair shops and local retailers who have offline transactions will be eager to learn more about this feature.

According to the Google Website: “Our Offline Conversion Connector shows which in-store sales can be attributed to digital marketing. The value of online channels — from display to search, affiliate, email, social and more — can be measured in revenue generated in store.”

Matching In-Store Revenue?

How can Google measure offline conversions or purchases? Don’t forget that mobile apps have geo-tracking capabilities. Google can measure if a consumer who visits a physical store location might have previously clicked on an advertisement or had a view-through conversion.

When you consider how many consumers have Google Maps installed on their mobile phones, it should help your understanding of how offline conversions might be matched. Keep in mind that Gmail is used by more than a billion consumers, so Google’s ability to connect a physical visit with online engagement data is growing. There are a number of third-party companies that share mobile phone location data with advertisers.

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Data Hygiene

One of the challenges in creating accurate offline attribution models is data hygiene. While matching a consumer’s online activity to a physical store purchase might seem easy, it is not. Consumers use different email addresses depending whether they’re using it in social situations or for business. I often laugh at the email addresses used on LinkedIn profiles because they are often something other than a business email address.

Retailers may capture incorrect name and address information at purchase if they even ask at all; for example, credit cards used at POS registers may not be owned by the consumer. There are many factors that can impact data-matching algorithms.

While this move to greater marketing attribution is exciting, business owners will need to proceed with caution. If data hygiene is not part of a business’s core marketing and sales process, attribution will be more challenging and less accurate.

I’ll keep you posted on my first impressions of Google Attribution 360 when I road-test it for a few of my multi-channel clients.

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Brian Pasch

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