4Info And Catalina Expand Measurement Pact On Mobile-To-Mortar Sales Lift

In-store traffic metrics are fine, but physical retailers just want to know if a smartphone impression actually made the cash register ring.

4Info's Tim Jenkins
4Info’s Tim Jenkins

Mobile ad campaigns directed at driving in-store sales produce an average $2.57 “Return on Ad Spend,” with some campaigns capable of returning an amount that is in excess of 1000 percent compared to what a retailer spent on a smartphone-based placements, according to a joint benchmark study (download required) conducted by 4Info and shopping data provider Catalina.

Over the last five years, 4Info has positioned itself as a mobile attribution specialist for enterprise retail businesses — a long leap from its beginnings 10 years ago as an early SMS ad generator. In large sense, the release of this first benchmark study with Catalina can viewed as a line in the sand separating 4Info from many other companies in the online-to-offline marketing services space, where in-store visitation is being touted as a better ad effectiveness measure than more typical digital metrics such as clickthrough rates.

Solving Mobile Attribution

“The benchmark study is about mobile today because that was the hardest problem to solve,” said 4Info CEO Tim Jenkins. “If you can believe that you can do solve that mobile attribution and conversion piece, then multi-screen is much easier because people have been doing the display side for years. But the belief that you could not do it at mobile was one of the primary reasons holding marketers back from truly investing heavily in this space. We’re here to prove that it’s more than doable.”

The study gathered sales information tied to 83 mobile campaigns, across a seven consumer packaged goods categories (baby, beverage, food, merchandise, health/beauty, over-the-counter, and pet) for 59 different brands. Campaign duration ranged from 4- to 38 weeks, with an average of 12 weeks. The sales data came from Catalina’s BuyerVision cross-screen shopping tracker program that is powered by both 4Info (with respect to mobile ads) and Nielsen.

Aside from Return On Ad Spend, the study also found:

  • Mobile produced a 15 percent ROAS gain over BuyerVision desktop campaigns
  • Measured mobile campaigns generated, on average, $500,000 in total sales; the largest campaign drove nearly $3 million total in-store sales.
  • As a general guideline, when looking at ROAS, campaigns lasting at least seven weeks tend to produce a 35- to 40 percent higher ROAS.

Location Is Not A Cookie

As the use of geo-data and place-based advertising matures and becomes more mainstream, general statements such as “Location is the new cookie!” and “Where you go is the best indicator of WHO you are,” have begun to gain traction. After all, parents of newborns tend to exhibit different offline shopping patterns than college students that might provide a clearer consumer definition than demographics alone.

Still, Jenkins cautions about using location as a direct proxy for cookies.

“Just because someone is near a particular store doesn’t make them a viable prospect. If you don’t know who they are, then you’re going to have a lot of inefficiency in your targeting — and that leads to wasted impressions.”

The 4Info study offers an example of a person’s smartphone being detected by geo-fences around a shopping center. The hypothetical strip mall features a donut shop, a nail salon, a electronics store and a CrossFit Box all in close proximity to the other.

“Do they have an addiction to donuts and want to lose weight, or are they a fitness buff who gets their kicks from pulling around large tires?” the study rhetorically asks. “Is it a woman getting a manicure while the kids are at school or a gadget geek guy picking up a battery for one of his specialized gadgets?”

“Even if you string together many different locations, you are still making a lot of guesses about just exactly who you are targeting, and you’re bound to be wrong,” Jenkins says. “Why take on that uncertainty when there are mobile platforms capable of tying mobile devices to individuals? This kind of data enables you to match where a customer is with who they are, so you can target your campaigns — and your messages — with precision.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.