American Marketer


Tracking mobile offers from eyeball to purchase

February 28, 2013


By Greg McAllister

A new report from research firm IDC predicts that 86 percent of shoppers will access a retailer's site on their mobile device while shopping in a retail store.

Seventy-one percent of those surveyed predict the mobile wallet will "permeate" the consumer experience in 2013. Mobile devices are now a closed ecosystem for content consumption, product discovery, payment execution, and – most opportunistically – value exchange between marketers and potential customers.

Mobile offers and promotions are quickly becoming a must-have for retail marketers. Yet before committing to a strategy, it is crucial to define whether the goal is to new customer acquisition or retention of existing ones.

For instance, if I am Coca-Cola, I am not going to want to offer a discount to someone who is already buying a Coke on a daily basis. I want to attract a Pepsi drinker.

Once that distinction is made, the campaign can be designed to take advantage of three key steps in the lifecycle of the mobile offer from eyeball to purchase.

Distributing the offer

Location has become the easiest and most obvious way of targeting consumers and delivering a hyper-relevant, engaging mobile offer.

The amount of ad inventory for location-based mobile advertising is still limited, so it is important to resist the urge to dive too deep with audience segmentation just yet.

Today, if I segment a group of consumers who are within a certain geographical location, then overlay it with 18-24 year-old females, the group invariably gets too restricted to positively impact my sales.

Make location the primary context for offer targeting, and the relevancy that drives should be enough to drive higher than average response.

Engaging with the customer

While you will want to focus on location only as segmentation for now, it is possible to customize and change the campaign as you gather more data. Changing the day of the week – or even the time of day – can make a campaign more effective.

Another way to increase engagement with the customer is to think beyond purchase as the only conversion factor.

Redeeming a test drive or free sample could take the customer one step closer to purchase, meet your early success metrics, and minimize considerations for point-of sale data integration.

Starting a dialogue with the consumer at a higher point in the conversion funnel, especially for higher price point items, while using location as the initial and ongoing relevancy, can be hugely impactful on the longer-term relationship.

Closing the loop at point of sale

It is quickly getting easier to correlate the disparate data captured about a mobile consumer: where you first engaged them, how far from the store they showed an intent to convert, time from intent to conversion, how they behaved in the store and what else they bought.

Attributing purchases to marketing strategy is now becoming possible at scale, allowing for optimization of ongoing marketing tactics based on concrete cost-per-acquisition measurement by the merchant.

That data, combined with measurable loyalty data, creates a meaningful ongoing dialogue with the customer post-purchase.

AS MOBILE CONTENT consumption continues to cannibalize other digital channels, and the associated ad space becomes the best way for you to reach consumers, focus on mobile as the key to your digital marketing strategy going forward.

The location relevancy it can provide, the cost efficiencies it currently supports, and the ability to track through from digital response to physical conversion make mobile the likely winner for future retail marketing.

Master mobile and you will grow your checkout line.

Greg McAllister is cofounder/CEO of PushPoint, San Francisco. Reach him at