How Location-Based Businesses Can Up Their Ad Game With In-Store Tracking Data

With the rise of digitalism, online businesses have benefited from a wealth of data that empowers them to better understand their target audience and judge the efficacy of their digital marketing strategies. Technologies like AI and machine learning gather and analyze the relevant KPIs to then produce actionable insights.

But did you know that brick-and-mortar locations can also apply these technologies to track in-store visits?

For any company operating a physical location, in-store visit geotracking is an essential way to gauge the success of your online ads and continue refining your marketing strategy.

Today, we’ll show you how it works and discuss winning strategies you should deploy.

How Does In-Store Tracking Function?

Practically every person in the country carries a smartphone on them at all times. These devices constantly relay a torrent of backend data via:

  • GPS
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • App signals

Mobile applications—specifically those that request location data—are responsible for collecting and transmitting this information to 1st- and 3rd-party data-gathering apps. These data aggregators collect or license out mobile ad IDs (MAIDs), which is hidden within a mobile device’s privacy settings.

Typically MAIDs break down into two buckets, either of which can be used to trigger targeted ads or learn more about user behavior. They include:

  1. Google Advertising ID (GAID) – This unique string of 32 numbers and lowercase letters is assigned to an Android device. All updates and new apps uploaded to the Google Play store use this advertising ID in lieu of others.
  2. Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) – This is a random number assigned to an Apple user’s device to track, identify, and target them with personalized ads.

Furthermore, some platforms also manage their own opt-in panel of tracking devices. This data can be overlaid with advanced mapping and geofencing to identify the places a person visited.

These platforms can then analyze the foot traffic data, providing useful insights to owners, such as the total number of devices that entered the geofence, the time they spent in that area, and whether their dwell times aligned with those expected.

Naturally, there are nuances to this form of data analysis. For example, the expected dwell time of a fine dining restaurant would be much longer compared to a quick service restaurant.

Note: Location data is often conveyed via a 2-d horizontal map, which can add some ambiguity to in-store tracking. As a result, the accuracy can vary, which could create imprecise insights, especially for smaller geofences and footprints.

How Is The Data Used?

There are dozens of platforms that can use location data to report on the effectiveness of user advertising campaigns. These include:

  • Google
  • Yelp
  • Yahoo! DSP
  • Foursquare
  • Cubeiq
  • InMarket

For restaurants, such platforms will typically report on relevant KPIs, such as estimated store visits, dwell times, and lift (i.e., user action driven by ads).

The data is modeled according to the action rates of devices they are able to match, and this figure is then used to extrapolate behavior over the entire campaign. But this data can still be somewhat imprecise. As a result, it’s best used as a directional indicator of whether an ad or ad campaign spurred an intended action.

Finally, there are other platforms like GroundTruth, Reveal Mobile, and Adentro that leverage this data to build an audience that is receptive to direct targeting.

How Reliable Is The Data?

As mentioned, when it comes to data accuracy, there needs to be some flexibility with the analysis. For example, the results can be impacted if the platform changes its dataset or adds or removes sources because these decisions would necessarily shift the device match rate. This, in turn, could contribute to variances in the data modeling.

Put simply, depending on the method, there may be some estimation error to account for.

For example, sources like Cuebiq and Placed use specific opted-in panel devices, whose efficacy can be inhibited due to the geographical dispersion of such devices. So, if the location data source has a large grouping of panels in city A, but a paucity in another in city B, the results for city B would be based on A, which may not be accurate.

How Can Brick-and-Mortar Locations Leverage In-Store Tracking Data?

Although many brick-and-mortar businesses have joined the eCommerce boom over the last decade, and there has been a greater emphasis on pick-up and food delivery in recent years, the importance of physical locations cannot be overstated.

Per data from Mastercard, May 2022 saw a 13.4% increase in in-store purchases compared to a 2.2% increase in online shopping. And the vast majority of restaurants are still heavily reliant on in-store dining.

Knowing this, how can physical locations take advantage of store visit tracking technology?

Refining Digital Marketing Strategies

Today, 41% of restaurant revenue now comes via digital channels.

Measuring foot traffic, especially when combined with geo-location tracking data, enables restaurants and stores to discern how their patrons ended up at the establishment. It can offer valuable insights, such as:

  • Where they began their trip
  • How they reached your location
  • Which marketing activity (if any) drove their trip
  • When they visited and for how long

You can flesh out your existing data set to build a profile of the typical patron and common behavioral patterns. This also enables you to trace the links between in-store patronage with media impressions and ad spend. Equipped with this data, marketing teams can optimize the digital marketing strategy since they have a greater discernment of who to target, what type of messaging resonates, and optimal spend caps on campaigns.

Develop A Geofencing Strategy

Geofencing is a multi-channel marketing strategy that can be used with Google, Yelp, and social media platforms.

Stores and restaurants can directly communicate—whether by ads, email, or alerts—with would-be shoppers or diners, sending targeted ads and messages to customers within a certain geographic area. Geofencing relies on GPS signals and Bluetooth radio waves, which notify the application when the mobile device is within the perimeter.

This strategy lets you personalize ads to the recipient based on the locations they like to frequent.

For example, if they’re frequently in your area, you can focus on providing ads that introduce the restaurant or offering deals that drive first-time visitors. Or, if they already are regulars, you can map geofencing tags to loyalty data to provide updates on new store inventory, menu changes, or other information that will encourage them to return for another visit.

Discover New Audiences

Another use for tracking data is identifying high-intent consumers who have visited similar locations in your area. For restaurants, that might be comparable dining experiences and price points. For other stores, it may be competing or complementary businesses, or it could be based on analyzing other data in tandem (e.g., customer demographics).

Unveiling this new cohort of customers opens up an entirely new audience for targeting. Such people are likely interested in trying out new restaurants or checking out comparable deals so long as they’re properly motivated to do so.

Leverage Store Visit Tracking with Liberty Interactive Marketing

Modern technology empowers brick-and-mortar locations to tie in-store visitation to media impressions and ad spends. Equipped with such actionable insights, they can judge whether their digital marketing strategy is, in fact, working, or make the necessary tweaks to optimize it according to the consumer data.

Need help leveraging your store visit tracking data?

At Liberty Interactive Marketing, data is what we do. We’re proud to be one of the few agencies selected by Google to be a Premier Google Partner, an Accredited Microsoft Ads Professional, and a Facebook Agency Partner. Get in touch with us today to see how you can leverage location tracking technology.

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