The Role Mobile Plays in In-Store Sales [Report]

The Role Mobile Plays in In-Store Sales [Report]

You would be hard pressed to find a marketer who doesn’t have at least some understanding of the positive influence that mobile ads can have on their in-store sales.

But how do they measure the return on their online activity in terms of their offline sales uplift? How can they have confidence that mobile ads are having a positive influence on offline sales? Most importantly, how do they get the budget they need to take advantage of the opportunities that mobile ad campaigns can bring for in-store sales growth?

These are some of the questions that a recent report from 4info set out to answer. The resulting Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report analyzes 136 mobile campaigns, across 93 brands provides, and according to the authors of the report is, “the industry’s only benchmarks to provide guidance for brand marketers based on sales lift measurement data.” Let’s take a gander at the report and see how that claim stands up.

Exposed vs Not Exposed 

4info’s methodology requires marketers to be able to attribute specific offline transactions to those exposed to a mobile campaign. This methodology allows for sales to be compared from the group exposed to the campaign with those who weren’t. This graphic from the report illustrates how this might be done.

Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report

Rather than using the more commonly quoted ROI analysis, incremental returns were calculated on a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) basis that was based on sales lift and cost of media. According to the study, this provides a more accurate result when comparing campaigns—and it makes perfect sense.

Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report

Let’s dive a little deeper. Across all the benchmarked campaigns in the study, the average ROAS came in at 256 percent, indicating the generation of $2.56 of incremental sales lift from mobile of in-store sales for every $1.00 spent on the campaign. It’s worth remembering at this stage that this figure doesn’t represent total sales; it’s an indication of the incremental amount of the exposed group above those who weren’t exposed to the campaign. Even a result of less than 100 percent can be useful to marketers, giving them a benchmark to inform future campaigns based on the same set of variables.

According to the study, the top ROAS generated by one of the sampled campaigns came in at 1131 percent. That means an incremental sales lift of more than $11 for every dollar spent. Pretty hard to ignore results like that, isn’t it? And results like that make it exponentially easier to get the mobile marketing budget allocation you’re looking for.

The Bigger In-Store Picture for Mobile Campaigns

The study also revealed how mobile campaigns can boost in-store sales on a wider scale. As this graphic from the report illustrates, all of the campaigns analyzed produced a positive effect, with an average of $800,000 and a maximum of more than $10 million measured in sales impact in-store.

When it came to an analysis of impressions on a “dollar-per-thousand” basis, an average of more than $28 was achieved, with the top campaign returning a healthy $116 per thousand impressions.

An analysis of campaign by brand category (seven were included in the study) suggested that mobile campaigns in the Health and Beauty sector were the most effective in terms of both impressions and reach. Based on the amount of health and beauty purchases I make because of mobile ads, this surprises me not one bit. What about you?

Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report

Comparing Creative Campaigns

The team at 4info suggests in the report that promotional and coupon campaigns have been trending upwards over the last couple of years. In fact, their effectiveness at driving sales has resulted in some form of promotion being included in the majority of their campaigns over the last year.

Not surprising considering the results of this analysis of creative strategies in the study.

Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report

Promotions and coupons not only have a positive impact on short-term sales; they also drive a higher return than other creative approaches in terms of incremental sales per thousand impressions. Note too the average reach (and to a lesser extent average impressions) of promotions and coupons illustrated in this graphic.

Mobile Advertising Benchmarks Report

Although not highlighted in the report, there is one other takeaway that stands out for me in the last two charts. That’s the effectiveness of having some form of interactivity in a mobile ad campaign, with an interactive element scoring first or second in all of the benchmark assessments. People love to get involved in some way. Giving them the opportunity to do just that, combined with their love of a good deal, would appear to be key elements of a successful campaign.

The Importance of Mobile to In-Store Sales  

This study highlights the important role that mobile plays, not just online, but also related to offline, in-store sales. At its most basic level, it’s obvious that using mobile advertising to let potential customers locate your physical store and find out things like days and hours of operation or contact you easily with questions is pretty much a no-brainer.

But there’s a catch. This stuff—great ROI as a result of mobile marketing/advertising, doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen, and that means having the skills and tools in place to be able to consistently, and accurately connect offline sales with mobile ad campaigns. Hopefully the information covered in this report will get you thinking about the importance of this as part of your integrated marketing strategies and if you’re not yet allocating a budget to mobile ad spends, perhaps you’ll start.

What about you? What has your experience been with mobile and in-store sales? Have you struggled to connect the influence of mobile ads to offline sales? Do you think that this type of benchmarking analysis would give you more confidence in investing your marketing budget in mobile? I would to hear your feedback on what is fast becoming a very hot topic for marketers.

All graphics are from the report, which can be accessed at Mobile Advertising Benchmarks July 2016 (registration required).

Photo Credit: visitbasis Flickr via Compfight cc

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  • Nick Jaworski#1

    November 10, 2017

    Both Facebook and Google offer online sales tracking these days, which gives you a very clear picture of the effect of mobile ads. If stores and brands are not using this, they need to start.

    Another thing I think needs to be mentioned, which wasn’t clear from the article, is how these sales were attributed. Was it final attribution or simply anyone who saw an ad at some point that then made a purchase?

    What we need to keep in mind is that single ads rarely, if ever, drive behavior. It’s the confluence of campaigns across channels combined with overall brand recognition in a space. So, while this kind of tracking is very important to understand the ROI or RoAS of a given channel, we as businesses need to get more holistic in our thought process so that we’re not trying to determine profitability solely from one campaign or channel.


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