Facebook has recently reached 2 billion monthly users and their advertising revenue is up 51% from the previous year. Due to its success, advertisers continue to invest millions of dollars into the social platform making the site the most purchased social media site with a 61% ad spending share over other sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. Although consumers typically seek out new products and services through digital platforms, over 90% of sales still take place in physical stores making some marketers hesitant if online ads are successful in driving foot traffic.
Facebook has unveiled new products that will allow retailers with brick-and-mortar stores to measure the impact their online ads have offline. Facebook developed these products in order to attribute a purchase a user made in a physical store with a Facebook ad the consumer saw prior to purchase. The first of the new products will be a store locator tool that provides Facebook users with a map that displays a retailer’s physical store locations as well as the address, phone number, website and directions to the store as well as estimated travel time. This new feature will allow consumers to seamlessly navigate through store location information about a business and also give marketers the ability to exclude certain users who may be further than a certain distance from a location or does not match the characteristics of their target audience.
Next will be a store visits tool that will allow retailers to access reports on the number of people who viewed their ads and then actually visited a physical store location. This new metric will allow advertisers to see an estimated number of how many store visits a Facebook campaign created during a given timeframe. This number is only an estimate as it can only attribute users who turn opt-in to location services on Facebook. This data will give advertisers the ability to see results across various store locations in order to optimize future plans through creative and audience targeting.
Facebook will also release an offline conversion application that will allow retailers’ customer databases or point-of-sale systems to match transaction data to those who have seen their Facebook ads. Incorporating this tool will be able to show ROAS and whether or not their ads are successful. This will also allow advertisers to gain insights about those who purchase in stores. Facebook advertisers will then be able to use this data to create custom audiences to re-target and re-engage these consumers who have previously stepped in a store location or interacted with a business’s call center. This tool will also allow marketers to create lookalike audiences to help find new customers who share the same interests as those who have previously made a purchase.
Although Facebook’s model is not perfect, it will allow advertisers to access more reporting data. This will help businesses determine how well their Facebook campaigns are performing in driving foot traffic and in-store sales and allow marketers to optimize for future campaign.