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3 Ways to Accurately Attribute Mobile Sales

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 24 Apr, 2017
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Mobile sales are growing rapidly, but many still fail to properly account for them in their analytics.

Most Americans use mobile devices at some stage in the purchasing process, but mobile-influenced sales can be tricky to pin down. Marketers need to quantify mobile’s impact; failing to do so paints an incomplete sales picture and undervalues the ROI your mobile strategy produces.

Mobile is now overtaking desktop in overall usage. Data assembled for the KPCB mobile technology trends survey shows that people spend 51 percent of their time on mobile and only 42 percent on desktop. Even more use mobile to research purchases or look for discounts.

An ideal method to help pinpoint a mobile ad campaign’s effectiveness is mobile app attribution, which tracks app installs, in-app purchases, completions, and other mobile-related behaviors. The majority of marketers have a more difficult attribution challenge than tracking digital downloads. If you sell physical goods or sell across multiple channels, attribution provides valuable insights that assist marketers in accurately valuing their mobile campaigns.

How to Accurately Attribute Mobile Sales

Now more than ever, marketers must get a handle on their mobile-influenced sales and accurately attribute the revenue mobile generates. Having such valuable information lets marketers improve their mobile marketing strategies by identifying the channels that generate at the highest levels.

Marketers wanting to accurately attribute the mobile sales they generate should home in on these three areas:

1. Online-to-Offline Tools:

Whether they’re looking for a product or a service, most consumers these days start their search online. However, they often end up physically going to a store to make a purchase, and some even use their mobile devices to research products while in the store.

Businesses rarely count this online research as having contributed to the sale. Most simply track online behavior, but if a sale isn’t finalized, the campaign is usually deemed a failure. In fact, campaigns with the lowest click-through rates often drive the highest number of store visits.

Octalytics is an online-to-offline attribution tool that connects online marketing to offline sales. When customers visit a retailer’s website, the site sends the information to Octalytics, which starts tracking the customer’s behavior.

In-store cashiers ask customers for personal details, which get added to the system. Everything — online and offline — gets connected, allowing marketers to visualize the relationship between mobile and actual sales.

2. Social Media Ads:

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is measuring the effectiveness of their digital marketing strategies. It’s important to know how and where marketing budgets are being spent and what’s performing, which is essential to a successful strategy.

Facebook offers a conversion lift to help brands understand the impact of Facebook ads. That can be extended further with the Offline Conversions API to see how many shoppers interacted with your Facebook ads before completing their purchases offline.

Facebook and Square joined forces to allow marketers to use their sales data for Facebook ad purchases through Square. Recently, Square began integrating with Facebook’s Offline Conversions API to better help businesses attribute traffic.

Square also launched software that links online ads to transactions, allowing marketers to create a connection with consumers who interact with Facebook ads and in-store purchases.

3. Data-Driven Models:

Criteo’s 2015 Q4 State of Mobile Marketing Report notes that 40 percent of e-commerce purchases occur across multiple devices. They often originate online but are completed offline, as more than 90 percent of retail sales happen in stores.

Advertisers used to be able to rely on a last-click method, which counted the step right before purchasing as the most important. After mobile killed the marketing funnel, a new approach was required; in this mobile world, marketers need to be able to see all the touchpoints along a shopper’s journey that contributed to the sale.

In the past, customer behavior was tracked in a linear way, from awareness to purchase. Today, customers are more connected via unlimited access to the pipeline and may enter mid-funnel, skip stages, and move back and forth in the process.

Databridge — the recent partnership between Commerce Signals and PlaceIQ — delivers in-store sales data to PlaceIQ, which uses geolocation to identify audiences and deliver offline attribution insights. This shows which campaigns or channels motivate buying decisions.

Guessing where you’re performing best can result in a wasteful allocation of resources. When marketers know where their sales are coming from and what role mobile is playing in the process, they can accurately determine which marketing strategies work best and where marketing dollars should be spent.

Track the beginning of the purchasing process online, then analyze how the journey concludes through an in-store sale. Monitor the role social media plays, and track any patterns that might suggest more ad attention should be paid to Facebook, Twitter, or other platforms. Use data to oversee both online-to-offline and social media to create the necessary precedent to build that model.

The purchasing process runs through mobile now more than ever. Make sure your attribution has every resource necessary to ensure you’re maximizing your ROI.

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