Placed introduces offline attribution for paid search campaigns

Google and Facebook both have offline attribution. Now, Snap-owned Placed is introducing what it says is the first “media-independent” solution for paid search campaigns. (Multiple companies have offline attribution for display).

Here’s the methodology as described by the company:

Placed Attribution for Search directly measures the search click through a redirect implemented by the advertiser. This click redirect allows Placed to map keyword clicks to its audience that generates over 140 billion latitudes and longitudes on a monthly basis. Placed’s location platform represents the largest set of active locations in the industry. Using these raw locations, and patented models to identify visits and assign them to places, Placed can directly connect paid search to store visits.

To showcase the new paid search attribution offering, Placed released the results of a case study with RetailMeNot. Paid search clicks, for various traditional retailers, went through a RetailMeNot landing page to enable the offline tracking.

The companies found that close to 40 percent (38 percent) of store visits tied to search campaigns happened within 48 hours. In addition, they reported a “4.0x return on ad spend (ROAS) that was incremental to the ROI driven online.”

Despite the fact that more than 90 percent of retail transactions occur offline, and the majority of service-based businesses must fulfill offline, in-store or offline attribution is only used by a minority of marketers. This provides a distorted picture of campaign performance, because actual conversions/visits being driven by the campaign are not being captured. It has long been established that local searches drive a substantial volume of offline store visits.

Google and Facebook have implemented offline tracking because mobile devices make that technically possible, but also because ROI increases, often dramatically, when offline actions are factored in. In addition, offline analytics (whether calls or visits) can help marketers optimize campaigns for real-world behaviors that matter vs. clicks, which are often meaningless in terms of ultimate consumer purchase behavior.

Retail makes up the largest category of online ad spending, representing about 21 percent of total revenues, or roughly $15 billion annually. A number of companies also are currently experimenting with a “cost-per-visit” ad model, which has reportedly been well received by brands. In addition to retail, QSR, automotive, Home Services and CPG are high-spending categories that are also potential audiences for offline or location anlaytics.

Google, which has now tracked billions of store visits, will be speaking at SMX East about online-to-offline attribution on October 24, and I’m moderating a panel on the same topic later in the day.

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