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Proving Online Media’s ROI for Driving Offline Sales for a U.S. Retailer

A US discount retailer with over 100 brick & mortar (physical) locations offers famous brands at a fraction of department store prices with new merchandise arriving daily. As a result, product offers & sales events are often planned with only a few days’ lead-time based on arriving inventory. They needed an effective marketing solution to cost-effectively lift in-store traffic counts and sales, but one that would work with short lead times.

Their Need Analysis of their historic use of print, circulars (flyers) and Out of Home (OOH) demonstrated poor to negative ROI. As part of a major rebranding exercise, they sought a new approach to reaching existing and new customers, one which would: drive frequency of visits and sales, work within their existing operations infrastructure and most importantly, drive positive marketing ROI.

Our Approach

Using customer and target audience analysis, we identified Facebook as a key opportunity, with its robust psychographic, demographic and geographic targeting, impactful ad solutions and strong reach in each of the retailer’s locations and drive-time footprints. Most importantly, we quickly demonstrated that our proprietary media methodology could deliver highly impactful messaging to hyper-targeted consumers at exceptional cost-efficiency.

We then set out to prove Facebook’s ability to effectively and efficiently drive in-store sales. In arguably the most comprehensive study of its kind, over several months we executed a battery of online-to-offline ROI tests using a set of exposed & control markets to measure impact. Sales of specific promoted SKUs in exposed markets were compared against a control set of comp stores and across a variety of product categories.

The Results Our proprietary Facebook marketing methodology proved Facebook’s ability to drive in-store sales: Exposed markets consistently increased sales velocity by 4-7x over control markets, with a sustained sell-through lift in the double-digits. As a result, within the first year a significant portion of media was diverted to Facebook, yielding a staggering 10% engagement from consumers reached via paid weekly product alerts, and with a correlated in-store sales impact.

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