More evidence of online-offline convergence as study shows online campaigns drive offline sales

By July 24, 2012Advertising

Finnish company RapidBlue has released the results of a study showing that Google Adwords campaigns result in increases in visits to stores and time spent in stores. The study looks like it was pretty thorough. Researchers took data from Royalblue’s proprietary technology which tracks mobile phones in retail outlets and output data from EPOS systems, and then correlated both these data sets with spend on Adwords campaigns, whilst controlling for a host of other variables. You can read more detail on Venturebeat.

For a while traditional retailers have been seeking to leverage their physical stores to improve their online offering by offering services like pick up and return to store, and this research shows that the trend also goes the other way – their online activity is benefiting their offline stores. This is significant for two reasons:

  • it should encourage retailers to shift more of their ad spend online
  • ceteris paribus, clicks and mortar retailers will have superior unit economics to pure play online retailers, enabling them to either bid higher for key search terms

This research is great, but it stops short of true online to offline attribution of the sort that the deal between Yahoo and UK offline loyalty card scheme Nectar promised back in 2010. That would be a huge step forward.