Being a consumer today means having to wade through a lot of noise. Here’s how brands can break through that noise and market effectively.
Consumers can engage in the buying process from all angles, from scrolling on Instagram and buying online to finding a local store where they can pick up what they need. People can easily switch in and out of the customer journey. But the quick flip from casual browser to serious buyer and back again makes analyzing the signals a real challenge for brands as they try to identify the impact of advertising.
What does it look like when the shopper is just looking versus when the shopper is ready to buy? What are the behaviors that mean the customer wants to buy in a store or purchase online? It’s hard enough to figure out what it means for one person, but it’s happening thousands of times every second. How can brands break through that noise?
Understanding the Consumer
It starts with really understanding who the consumer is and what he or she wants. This leads to a host of other important insights, including how best to engage, what the consumer is in the market for right now, what’s going to resonate with the consumer, and where that person is likely to make a purchase.
For example, if a consumer is in the market for an SUV, brands need to figure out which features this person is looking for in a vehicle. Would an eco-friendly message resonate with this person? Or perhaps our consumer appears to be most interested in safety features. Maybe this person browses for SUV information on a mobile device in the evenings or on a laptop during the day.
Where consumers live is a powerful indicator that can help answer these questions because people who live in similar neighborhoods tend to act in similar ways. This information can tell you where consumers shop and how they spend their money. You also could extrapolate what they might want to buy and where.
Would these consumers want food promotions on their phones? When would they want it, and what kind of brands do they like? All of these signals can start to give you an idea of the best message to send, the best device to send it on, and the time when consumers might be the most receptive. From there, you need to decide how your brand should engage with consumers, and then you can measure the impact of your ads and messaging.
Measuring Digital Advertising Effectiveness
The goal of any ad campaign is to learn from it and start the next one from a smarter place. The key to accomplishing that is to have a system that allows you to automatically turn what you’ve learned back into data. This is where a unified intent engine really shines. Not only does it collect and analyze data and then target and activate ads, but it can also collect responses and reactions to add to datasets moving forward.
Here are some ways you can measure the effectiveness of your digital advertising:
1. Use foot traffic analysis.
Monitoring foot traffic can be one of the best ways to measure the impact of digital marketing. Digital ads can get consumers into the store, and once they’re there, the buying experience and point-of-purchase ads can convert them. But are your ads really getting them in the position to buy? You should understand the direct impact your ad spend has on whether or not more people are walking into the store.
A client came to Valassis and asked us to promote Memorial Day and Father’s Day sales to drive measurable in-store results at its outdoor and casual clothing retail stores. Real-time data analytics clearly showed that the ad campaign increased foot traffic to the store by 11%. That helps the brand understand what’s working.
2. Optimize with “always-on” analytics.
Brands can be in charge of what’s influencing the response by optimizing their ad targeting using all sorts of environmental insights — from weather to sales to trending topics — to achieve increased customer engagement.
For example, Kingsford Charcoal once asked us to use the weather when we were working on targeting — specifically when the local temperature went above a temperature that the company determined was perfect for grilling outdoors. This “always on” campaign drove engagement by resonating with what was going on at the moment and standing ready any time the opportunity was present.
3. Don’t forget about past store performance.
Most digital campaigns are focused on driving new sales, but they can also improve relationships between retailers and suppliers. When suppliers are able to correlate store-level data with digital marketing efforts, opportunities are expanded that will benefit both the brand and its retail partners. But where to start?
Use advertising that will adapt to real-time sales performance data. Companies can refine their marketing by applying sales volume data to each advertising campaign, thus lifting sales for their suppliers, increasing category sales for their retail partners, and providing improved support to suppliers at retail stores.
For instance, Valassis recently partnered with a pet food supplier that wanted to optimize its advertising based on inventory and sales volume. The company tapped into store-level sales data and increased the average daily sales per store by 9% and sustained a 4% lift in sales even after the campaign ended. New customers were driven to retail locations and grew the pet food category in individual stores.
Pinpointing the impact of advertising is important, and it’s hardly a one-size-fits-all model. Understanding consumers through smart data collection and intelligent analysis helps brands execute on their campaigns. There are lots of ways to get there, but it’s creativity that wins the day. The brands that understand this will go from being background noise to being the brands that get the attention they want.
Learn more about how Valassis’ predictive consumer intelligence provides more data, more detailed analysis, and better results.