Buzzwords to learn today:

  • “Online to offline marketing”, meaning direct tracking of a consumer who sees an ad online then goes to the advertiser’s store
  • “Omnichannel marketing”, tracking a consumer who sees ads on different platforms, and finally carries a mobile phone into a retail location where a targeted ad pops up.

Many players are trying to solve this whole offline/online/omnichannel thing (see Tracking Online Ads to Store Visits: The Final Step for more background) and it’s tough one. But any efforts that Facebook and Google make are like the elephants entering the room, and worth noting:

Google added “location extensions” to its Display Ad Network. The extensions (already available on search ads) display local store information. Adding them to display ads mean a consumer who is not actively searching on Google, but looking at any website on a mobile device, could be targeted by a Google ad from a nearby store. Google says a test with Home Depot generated 8 times the return on investment, aiming display ads at shoppers in Home Depot stores. Google also has a pretty massive effort to map millions of stores so it knows when consumers enter a store, based on their cellphone signals.

Facebook, a bit of a laggard in this field, announced some new measurement tools to capture store visits and “dynamic ads for retail” that will showcase products from nearby stores to Facebook users. Google already has well-established local product inventory ads. But any moves that Facebook makes are a big deal given its world-beating capabilities to target audiences.