3 Ways to Make Online Interactions Drive In-Store Purchases

More than ever, consumers turn first to their phones when shopping, and that makes sense: real-time price comparison, quick access to product research, one-or two-button purchasing—we can now complete our shopping journey in one fell swipe, so to speak. But if you think this means retail sales have toppled mobile sales, you’re thinking wrong: according to the latest U.S. census data, released August 2017, 90% of sales still take place in-store. No matter how much screen-time we log, it seems retail stores can still provide customers with a touch of personal service that simply can’t be found online.

But if there were ever a moment for that scale to tip, it is now: we spend on average five hours a day on mobile devices, and at least 30 percent of that time is spent on social media apps. Those apps—and in particular, Facebook—offer your brand the ability to reach your desired audience on a platform they know, among relationships they already care about. Whether your end goal is to drive in-app purchases or drive customers to your store, Facebook has made a number of updates to their mobile ad capabilities specifically aimed at helping boost sales. We aligned these updates with three decidedly traditional advertising truisms to help you get the most out of your mobile social media efforts—because though the mediums will continue to change, the basic rules of marketing won't.

To succeed in mobile social media marketing...

Online to offline, make sure you find out what’s working

Any marketer worth her salt knows research and data are the backbones of a successful campaign. Metaphorically, if the creation of a social media campaign is a road trip, you need a car, a map, and some insurance is always nice.

Market research is all of these things: data and insights can help drive your communication efforts to your current customers and your newer targets (the car). Further analysis allows you to identify your road and all the obstacles in between—your map if you will—protecting you from the trouble of wasted efforts. A social media campaign without proper data analysis is like driving a car without insurance: pretty risky. Taking your insights and weighing them against your initial campaign goals helps you get a better picture of your campaign's successes and shortcomings. With detailed and founded data to focus your campaign, you lower the risk of poor execution.

A social media campaign without proper data analysis is like driving a car without insurance: risky.

 

According to Social Media Examiner's 2017 Industry Report, only 38% of social media marketers believe that they can measure the ROI for their social activities. Facebook makes tracking offline ROI easier for brands who employ their ads by offering offline conversion tracking. Adjust your strategy as you get insight into which digital campaigns are pulling customers into your stores, thanks to Offline Conversion's connections with your CRM system, databases or POS systems.

Figure out which messages stick once people close their app or log off by measuring how your mobile ads are affecting offline events, such as purchases made in-store, or even orders made via phone. You might just find an entirely new road to explore.

Pinpoint the shopper on her journey

Like any great love story, in the customer journey, timing is everything. Creating brand love calls for the same care and attention of any healthy relationship. This begs the question of how you, as a marketer, can integrate yourself into a shopper's journey so that they'll notice you. We're here to tell you it's not "how" but "when."

There are a variety of moments on a shopper's journey that are opportunities for your brand's placement. At the beginning of any journey, there’s a discovery stage. Online discovery looks like consumers opening their search windows in hopes of inspiration. This is also when consumers find themselves searching a general term like, "furniture" versus a more focused search like, "armchair." Then there's the comparison stage, when consumers have a clear idea of what they're shopping for and research specific brands, prices, and reviews. Lastly, there's the ready-to-buy stage: the research is done, and the shopper is ready to make the purchase. As a retailer, it's important you place yourself somewhere between the inspiration searching stage and the comparison stage.

As a brand, your goal is to find out when it's the best time to insert yourself into a shopper's journey.

 

On Facebook, you can use Dynamic Ads to reach shoppers with the most relevant ads based on their interests. The power and beauty of Facebook's dynamic ads lie in the fact that you set them up once, then watch as they do the rest of the work for you. They can build on consumers who already expressed interest, whether on your website, on your app or somewhere else online.

The Dynamic Ad capability offers a wide range of product categories; it's from here you can find a way to insert your brand into shopper's journey, at the critical moment where their attention and interest are open. With this capability, you have the express opportunity to be their first stop online and later in-store.

Figure out how to be better at looking good

If content is king, the appropriate imagery is queen. Finding the right image for every brand post is critical: as attention spans shrink, people judge every "book" by its cover—this includes your brand and your products. Shopify, one of the largest e-commerce software companies, says, "Quality product images are a key driver of store engagement, conversion and retention, and overall customer lifetime value." Facebook recognizes this and wants to ensure you have the opportunity to show off your products and brand in the most natural way.

An attempt at modernizing the old, Facebook updated their Collection Ads by adding shopping templates aimed at creating a more "personalized catalog experience." With this, they hope to address the fact while people aren't flipping through magazines as much, they're certainly swiping more.

Here's a quick overview of Facebook's new Canvas updates:

Shopping Templates

As you can see below, Carnival Cruise was able to take these updates and use them to the best of their abilities with their "Explore a 5-day Caribbean getaway in the palm of your hand" canvas ad. Making use of these new templates can help propel your brand with striking visuals and providing an interactive experience. It’s these stand-out elements that drive consumer response to your brand while they scroll through their News Feed.

 

Tabs

Using the same curation tech as their Dynamic Ads, Facebook can deliver a personalized shopping experience right within your feed. The most exciting part of incorporating Tabs for Canvas is that the shopper can take the ad fullscreen. While Canvas Tab ads require a "tap to open," the overall experience is meant to be fast-loading and unobtrusive. With interactive elements like animations, carousels, and videos, you're able to offer shoppers a quick, in-depth and even exciting experience right in the midst of their News Feed. New ad capabilities like these can get your audience talking, tilting, swiping and playing with your brand like you never thought possible, but it’s important to know what imagery can break through the clutter of someone’s News Feed and speak the loudest.

Employing Facebook's dynamic ads can give your social campaign the chance to offer in-depth and interactive experiences to your shoppers while they scroll through their News Feed.

 

Amid new tech, the updates, and all the upgrades, if there’s one thing we are sure of, it’s that the basics of marketing remain tried and true. Without data insights there are no clear directions. There's beautifying your image and your content, but it's all for naught if your ad placement doesn't align with the shopper's journey. Using these new Facebook capabilities—and keeping in mind the tried-and-true marketing principles they align with—can not only help you pave your shopper's path but accelerate their journey from looking at their phones to walking through your door.

 

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.