As of February 2017, restaurant comp sales are down 3.7% and restaurants have reported same stores sales are down 51% year over year. All budgets are under the microscope, so how have restaurants reacted to this marketplace shift? Unless there is strong rationale, marketing budgets are likely one of the first on the chopping block. Thus, there is now a need to prove digital marketing dollars are well spent – that there is measurable ROI.
With the budgets that are allocated to digital marketing, brands are looking for digital tactics that are DR-focused and that can drive sales. Powerhouses like Google and Facebook are jumping feet first into online to offline attribution to be able to prove foot traffic and sales.
However, the betas of these products have had slightly undefined methodologies, making it difficult for marketers to hang their hats on. Both Google and Facebook’s 1:1 methodologies are also lacking location-specific granularity, allowing for a wider range of error and potential duplication. That means a user might have seen a Google text ad and a display ad but visited based on a different touchpoint like a video ad.
This trend has also spurred a slew of mobile ad tech companies, including xAd, Sito Mobile and MobileFuse, to roll out their own 1:1 visitation metrics. Most of these networks tap into GPS location data from mobile app partners to determine a user’s offline behavior. Once they have identified the target audience and locations, their algorithms can pin the users that have been served an ad and have visited a location over a certain period.
While this is useful information to prove visitation, it doesn’t give brands the insight into whether these visitors were new or existing. Companies like Placed, comScore, Foursquare and others run specific foot traffic studies that help prove digital drove new visitors, using a Control vs. Exposed study.
These advancements in visitation tracking and attribution should help advertisers and agencies take on more dollars that can be tied to immediate traffic and sales. Pairing foot traffic studies with trackable visitation should be sufficient rationale that marketing dollars are critical in driving sales.
Soon enough, these products will come out of beta and marketers will have even more ammunition to grow digital DR budgets.