In this opinion piece, Delacon CEO Michael Center (pictured below), explains how marketers can now find out if social media ads are delivering a return on investment in-store.
Advertising spend on social media platforms continues to grow despite the recent scandals around transparency and brand safety, with revenues expected to top $1.3 billion in Australia this year. In June, SMI reported agency bookings on social media was up 13 per cent and by 2022 it’s predicted there will be more than $2.2 billion poured into social media ads.
While marketers have been able to track the effectiveness of their social media spend if the consumer’s path to purchase remains online, they often struggle in measuring its effectiveness once the customer moves from the online to offline world. Or, to put it more simply, a consumer sees a social media ad, but instead of buying it online, makes a phone call about it and then decides to visit the brand’s bricks-and-mortar store to buy.
In an age where marketing accountability is paramount, there is a solution for marketers to find out the effectiveness of social media advertising. By using call tracking technology, advertisers that have a physical retail presence can effectively work out the value of their social media advertising in driving in-store sales.
Companies that require customers to provide a contact number such as travel agents, health insurers, banks or car dealerships at the time of in-store purchase are able track if their social media spend is working by linking the purchase back to the original call the customer made.
Essentially, marketers can establish if a call to the contact centre has originated from a social media ad through the use of call tracking software that captures the caller’s phone number and the campaign that generated it, and then pushes this data into a CRM or point-of-sale platform.
When the caller then goes into a retail store makes a purchase and provides their contact number, that purchase/transaction can then be tracked or linked back to the specific social media ad they viewed through the data already stored in the CRM or POS platform, allowing the company to establish if social media spend is working or not.
For example, a retail-based finance company was concerned their social media spend was not delivering the returns they wanted and were planning to shift that money into channels which they could more effectively monitor and measure return on investment. As a consumer’s phone number is required to be given when making a transaction, call tracking was used to track the customers who had made an initial call after clicking or viewing an ad for the finance company on social medial and then completed the transaction at one of its retail locations. Far from being ineffective, social ads were found to be driving, on average, five per cent of in-store sales and, for the first time, were able to be measured.
What’s more, through call tracking technology, marketers can establish which social platforms are delivering the best results, and by using call tracking techniques, they can even work out which creative is more effective in driving sales.
With spending on social media advertising continuing to increase, marketers will always want to know how their online presence translates to the offline world when it comes to sales. With call tracking and a little data analysis, this question – which was once almost impossible to verify – can now be answered.