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Can Digital Ads Work In An Omnichannel World?

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More than ever, shoppers are taking advantage of the ability to move quickly between channels – online, mobile and in-store – to purchase the items they want, when they want them. But the onset of omnichannel shopping opportunities brings a new challenge to merchant advertisers as they look to ensure that their digital ads are actually driving purchases at the point of sale.

According to the 2015 “Analytics: Shaping the Right Customer Experience” study from Mercator Advisory Group, half of smartphone owners have used their device to shop online before opting to purchase in-store, with 76 percent of those respondents admitting to using their device to shop while in a physical store.

With the growth of omnicommerce transactions showing no signs of slowing down, chief marketing officers (CMOs) must find a way to accurately track performance and improve audience targeting, while also effectively connecting online ads to offline transactions.

Digital-ad spend represents 30 percent of advertising expenditure but less than 10 percent of those purchases actually happen online, which puts the pressure on digital advertisers and publishers to bridge the gap and measure return on investment on “clicks to bricks."

With the launch of its Merchant Data Platform last year, Discover is providing a way for merchant advertisers to utilize data sets and analytics to achieve a better understanding of attribution and targeting. Discover’s network infrastructure and closed-loop assets support the Merchant Data Platform, which provides access to a database of Discover merchant brands, locations and acceptance capabilities.

"The omnichannel reality is here and proliferation of connected devices has made the shopping journey even more complex with multiple online and offline marketing touch points. The race is on to close the gap between online clicks and offline purchases,” Arvind Ronta, Director of Commerce, Security and Data Products at Discover, explained. “Transaction data is seen as the last mile for online to offline attribution. However, the transaction data is not clean and organized for attribution use-cases, and poses a challenge to confidently link transactions to merchant brands."

Ronta added Discover Merchant Data Platform was created to help address this gap, with a specific focus on identification of merchant brands and enabling targeting and qualification for Discover Deals offers and Cashback Bonus rewards. The platform allows merchant data to be utilized to support precise reporting as well as localized offers to drive personalized experiences.

"Our merchant partners benefit from better targeting and redemption insights, which ultimately drive better marketing decisions. We have been on this journey for more than two years and continue to expand this data utility for network partners to deliver superior customer interactions,” Ronta said.

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