Mobile Learnings from eTail West 2015

Mobile is hot right now, but retailers are struggling with it. The knowledge of how mobile works, the challenge of connecting tech partners, and the ability to create a long-term growth strategy is causing confusion within the marketplace, especially among brands trying to capitalize on this exploding area in ad tech. As retailers are continuing to evolve in the digital space, mobile is becoming a large part of their annual budget and digital marketing spend, particularly for brands able to connect the dots and show an ROI based on their campaigns.

Late last month I had the opportunity to listen to Keith Petri, our VP of Strategic Partnerships, present at the “Mobile Tracking Panel Discussion: Optimal Tracking of Your Mobile and Tablet Programs to Close the Conversion Gap” at eTail West 2015. This panel, which also included Andy Nails, the Director of Data Management & Integration at Sears Holding Corporation, brought up key topics in mobile affecting the retailer and consumer when it comes to integrating mobile into your marketing strategy. Here are some highlights from their discussion:

  • The Need to Understand Consumer Behavior: As Petri said, “The retailer has to understand their consumer behavior and buying behavior.” The example he brought up was purchasing a car. While you may start researching on your phone, this is a purchase that would end in store. In the case of Sears, they are very into analytics and the ability to track everything. Their ability to marry the data they collect to their loyalty program offers insights to customize the user experience. Furthermore, from a retailer’s perspective, this goes as far to impact how the mobile site is constructed (i.e. full menu bar, vertical/horizontal, screen resolution, design needs, etc.) to improve ROI.
  • Overcoming Limitations: Yes, there are limitations in the mobile space. According to Petri, we have the opportunity to connect the dots. He explained that before mobile we had our home computer and a work computer, with no understanding of the connectivity between the two or our activity elsewhere in the physical world. However, mobile and static identifiers (such as Device ID) now allow us to better understand the interaction between these two environments and what we do in-between. In fact one stat said that 78% of consumers are doing research online and then visiting a store to complete the purchase. By understanding our limitations, certain workarounds can be used until more viable solutions arise to better understand cross-channel, cross-device investments.
  • Physical Retargeting: With advances in technology, physical retargeting has grown in popularity. For example, consumers who login to a retailer’s wireless internet can be tracked using IP addresses, beacons and Bluetooth technology. Petri mentioned that one stat stated that 88% of consumers said they would opt-in to location tracking because of coupons. While some retailers are concerned about the “creepy factor” of having an ad served to your mobile device while you are near that product in-store, Petri explained that if you have consumer opt-in, they asked to receive coupons on certain items and/or they are in-app, this helps alleviate the “creepiness” that may be associated with this type of messaging.
  • Mobile Data vs. Desktop Browsing: One audience member asked if the shelf life of cookies could differentiate between devices and what pitfalls we should look out for when doing a paid media campaign. Petri explained that a Device ID is the only static identifier on a mobile operating system, while a cookie is generated in a browser but siloed within that browser. For example, if you are in a retailer’s app it generates a cookie, but if you go to Chrome on the same device and page, it generates a different cookie that is not matched – they are siloed. By exiting the app or restarting the device, all cookies are lost. One solution is to buy paid media in-app to collect and reference back, for attribution purposes, the Device ID. This allows you to use that attribution across channel, not only for the attribution within the silo.

As you can see, mobile can be complex. It is changing every day and consumers are getting smarter. The largest obstacle is understanding the data that you have and how it can be connected across all consumer touch points to better know your consumer. To learn more about IgnitionOne and our Digital Marketing Suite, specifically our Data Management Platform, check out this article by our President, Roger Barnette, featured in AdAge last month.

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