The Omnichannel Moment: Cross-Device Ads Are 60 Percent More Effective For Brick-And-Mortar Brands

One year after they partnered on online-to-offline measurement, NInthDecimal and ZenithOptimedia say their collaboration has driven a 24 percent lift in in-store visits.

While marketers are increasingly demanding proof that location-based advertising can actually drive customers into their brick-and-mortar stores, the evidence of ROI can be hard to come by.

That’s particularly true when it comes cross-platform efforts, as mobile and desktop — not to mention TV — have vastly different levels of audience measurement. Location ad targeter/mobile measurement provider NinthDecimal, which along with other companies in the space, notably PlaceIQ and Placed, has extended its online-to-offline metrics capabilities beyond mobile to other platforms, believes it has the evidence to show the impact of geo-data and other mobile-centric signals on advertising across the board.

That evidence comes as NinthDecimal is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its exclusive relationship with Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia with the promise of creating “a new standard of omnichannel measurement and audience insights” for the media analytics and planning agency’s clients.

While the NinthDecimal and ZentithOptimedia didn’t specify any clients by name, the duo says that ZenithOptimedia has “driven a 24 percent incremental lift in store visits on behalf of its clients via both mobile and cross-device campaigns.” In comparison, desktop alone accounted for a 15 percent gain in store traffic.

In general, NinthDecimal’s analytics clients include Target, McDonald’s, and FOCUS Brand’s properties – Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Sonny’s BBQ.

Cross-Device And In-Store ROI

The 60 percent improvement in performance for cross platform campaigns reflects the natural idea that if a consumer is exposed to more media touchpoints, the ads are more likely to have some influence.

The mobile connection helps show whether or not someone who was served an ad actually showed up to a store, notes NinthDecimal, which has measured four billion cross-device campaign impressions NinthDecimal to date. NinthDecimal’s measured audience also expanded to over 135 million consumers, generating over 1.5 trillion data points per month. Representing over two-thirds of all US smartphone owners, this is 85 times larger than alternative panel-based approaches, the company claims.

“The whole market is shifting much more towards a view of looking at media channels separately — now, it’s about that individual profile and recognizing that it’s about connecting single individuals to those multiple devices,” said NinthDecimal President David Staas.

Decoupling Media And Analytics

As NinthDecimal has moved far away from it beginnings as a mobile ad network that connected publishers to consumers on free outdoor wi-fi signals, the company’s transition mirrors what other location marketplace providers Verve Mobile and xAd have done.

NinthDecimal can now be considered a full programmatic platform and it’s found itself at something of a crossroads between its analytics offerings — primarily its Location Conversion Index — and its traditional publisher-facing media business. As the San Francisco company has grown, NinthDecimal is formally decoupling that business to avoid any appearance of conflict, as well as to match the right service to the right client.

“We’ve been going down a path, if you think of the evolution of our measurement platform,” Staas said. “Launched it back in 2013 and it was at that point in time a mobile solution, running with NinthDecimal media. Towards the end of 2013, beginning of 2014, we began to separate that and made it a solution that was about its decoupled measurement, decoupled from our media. We’ve really been separating the two businesses. We have different measurement teams, we have different data sets, we have different platforms, different architecture.”

In essence, LCI tracks in-store sales lift and is based on location analytics from the San Francisco company’s publisher partners. And in addition to highlighting its deal with ZenithOptimedia, NinthDecimal also added 155 media publishers and ad networks to its LCI platform.

Among the new partners are Amobee, Kargo, Opera Mediaworks, and RocketFuel. The company also noted that its LCI Verified Partners include eight of the 10 largest US digital media properties according to comScore, and eight of the nine top demand-side platforms, according to Forrester. Over 80 partners are certified for cross-device measurement.

While the new partners would seem to concentrate NinthDecimal even deeper into mobile advertising, Staas noted how the new additions help broaden its ability to measure consumer’s activity beyond online platforms.

“We focused on that cross-device and that TV because there’s so much demand in the marketplace around both of those channels,” Staas said. “When you look at the overall ecosystem, today TV, mobile, and online represents something like 72 percent of all media spend. When you can begin to bring those things together, in an incredibly insightful cross-device way, from a planning and from a measurement attribution perspective, you’re beginning to solve the bulk of the industry’s audience analytics needs. That’s where we’re seeing the demand and the traction. The news is that there is continued momentum and that continued growth of the measurement business. And those new partnerships reflect that.”

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.