6 Key Lessons For Online-to-Offline Attribution Programs

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6 Key Lessons For Online-to-Offline Attribution Programs

Marketing Innovation

Connecting online media to offline sales is the one of the biggest opportunities for increasing the efficiency of digital marketing programs today.

Despite ecommerce’s meteoric climb, it still only represents around 6% of total US retail sales. (eMarketer study displayed in the chart below)

emarketer chart

Today’s retail marketers must activate online-to-offline digital channel attribution programs to allow them to see which audiences, channels and creative are driving their highest returns.

We recently helped a national retail client activate their online-to-offline marketing program. In order to launch, we partnered with LiveRamp to onboard 1st party customer data into a number of our digital marketing platforms.

By connecting consumer data across various marketing applications, we were able to:

  • Improve measurement – digital channel mix attribution helped us learn and prove which channels, tactics and creative were responsible for driving the highest in-store transactions
  • Focus targeting – we were able to direct messaging at the retailer’s most profitable 1st party customer segments and build lookalike models using 3rd party data sets
  • Enhance personalization – relevant consumer offers were delivered through dynamic creative ad banners, search ad copy and personalized website experiences

Planning and activating an online-to-offline attribution program across an organization can be a challenge for any company. Here are a few key lessons we have learned that we are happy to share so you can hit the ground running with confidence:

  1. Organizational Alignment: Get all stakeholders on the same page regarding the goals of the program, technology partners, and offline matching process methodology. Many organizations have an existing media mix modeling program that drives their forecasting efforts. Be sure to align the assumptions and data early in the process to avoid any confusion about reporting overlap.
  2. Audience Segmentation: Select one primary data partner to align audience indexing reports across your CRM, media targeting, media clicks, website engagement and offline sales transactions. Indexing your audiences against different data sources will result in unnecessary distractions and could impact your campaign optimization.
  3. Creative Messaging: Test a variety of messaging and offers to determine which will drive more offline sales. Optimize the best performing offers and determine why the losing versions didn’t perform; the results of this analysis can tell you more about your customers than the champion versions.
  4. Media buying Rules: You can potentially save 25% or more of your budget by optimizing your media inventory through exclusivity and frequency capping. There’s no need to pay premium fees to reach audiences that are already being targeted with lower cost tactics.
  5. Media Metrics: Shift your optimization efforts to the actual offline sales goal. Do not shift your budgets or optimize your campaigns to digital engagements or cost per click. This is a hard habit to break, but you should stay the course.
  6. Data Reporting: Build custom dashboards that simplify your marketing data and create an engaging story. Use your customer segments as the primary key to connect all of your data sources; this should generate additional insights that drive action and optimization.

Before we initiated this online-to-offline attribution program, we couldn’t correlate the precision of digital sales to offline retail sales. But now that we have the right tools in place from LiveRamp, we can optimize every granular detail of our digital campaigns for the end conversion point of an offline retail sale.

In terms a CFO would appreciate, the insights we gained from online-to-offline attribution dramatically changed the way that our retail client approached digital media, driving a 30% increase in their ROAS (return on ad spend).

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