- Facebook announced in a company news post that it's now offering all advertisers new targeting options that bridge offline activities to online ads. Tests of the new targeting options were first reported last month by Marketing Land.
- The new target audiences include people who have previously made offline purchases as well as people who make in-store visits. The data for the new targeting options comes from Facebook's offline conversions tool and information from people with location services enabled on their phone.
- Brands like KFC, Dick's Sporting Goods and Macy's are already taking advantage of the new features and seeing results, per Facebook. "Now with store visits custom audiences, we re-engaged customers who had visited one of our stores with a targeted Facebook ad at a profitable Omni-ROAS," Tom Hassett, VP of media at Dick's, said in the post. "And, using lookalike audiences, created from people similar to those who visited our store, opened up a broader audience of new customers for us to reach, driving incremental foot traffic and sales."
Offline attribution for actions driven by online marketing activities has moved from a wish list item to an increasingly viable measurement metric, largely because of the growing popularity of mobile as a channel and the fact that many consumers are willing to leave location services enabled on their devices. Moving from measurement results to using offline data for retargeting campaigns is a logical step, and Facebook is well suited to offer that capability given the immense user base that accesses the platform often on its mobile app.
Brands are likely to welcome the widespread introduction of these tools as well, especially those in the retail space that are struggling to drive foot traffic and in-store sales. Omnichannel consumers are an audience of growing importance — a Harvard Business Review study outlines how they are valuable in a number of ways — so being able to retarget campaigns on Facebook based on physical activities offers a more sophisticated method of outreach that might be able to attract these shoppers in the moment.
"Facebook's store visits reporting helped us show an increase in restaurant traffic and higher sales during our Facebook campaign," Steve Kelly, U.S. director of media and digital at KFC, said in a statement. "Some campaigns have shown a cost per store visit ranging from $0.50-$2.00. Understanding the impact of our Facebook ads on foot traffic is putting us ahead of the curve from others in the industry in terms of proving ROI."
Facebook could also be trying to get out ahead of its social media competitor Snapchat, which it has consistently cribbed features from. Snapchat is sinking a lot of resources into its offline attribution capabilities, an area where it's shown strength based on the popularity of location-based offerings like geofilters and photo tags. In April, the video messaging platform launched its Snap to Store product that lets advertisers measure in-store visits as they relate to ad campaigns on Snapchat.