How Brick-and-Mortar Stores Are Using Facebook Ads to Drive (and Measure) In-Store Traffic.

Facebook’s Q3 advertising revenue increased 59% year-over-year. Surprised? Don’t be. The real surprise is how much Facebook has upped their advertising game for Brick-and-Mortar retailers. The Social Network’s most interesting recent ad formats are aimed at increasing sales and in-store traffic by driving Facebook users to retail locations – which we call “Drive-to-Store” or D2S.

Here are the top 4 Ad Formats that Brick-and-Mortar business need to be using now to get the edge and create “Drive-to-Store” behavior.

  1. Target Facebook users that are physically within a specific distance from the store or location.
  2. Find out how many Facebook users saw your ad(s) recently and then came within 165 ft. (50m) of your store.
  3. sell on Facebook by pushing your actual local store’s inventory – when a customer needs something NOW, free shipping won’t cut it.
  4. we can now identify which sales were influenced by Facebook and Instagram Ads (Instagram/Facebook/Mobile Apps Network)

Here’s how these can be used to drive traffic and grow revenue for your retail locations:

FEATURE 1 of 4:

Simply put, this replaces “BUY NOW” with “GET THERE”. Local awareness ads look just like the usual ads, except that the call to action is a “Get there” button. Once clicked, the user chooses their preferred navigation/map app (Google Maps, Plans, etc.). So simple, yet so effective.

Doing it right: announce a promotion that capitalizes on urgent needs or wants (hungry?) and context (time of day, etc.) and tell the customer how to get to your place or the nearest location.

More about local awareness ads, directly from Facebook

FEATURE 2 of 4:
PROXIMITY REPORTS (Local Awareness Statistics)

“Is our Facebook ad campaign working??” With Facebook’s Local Awareness Statistics, you can confirm how many Facebook users in or near your store have seen your ad(s) in the past month.

How that number is calculated:

Here’s what the report from one of Absolunet’s retail clients looks like:

FEATURE 3 of 4:


This one is gold for anyone with multiple locations. Nothing ruins the customer experience like marketing out of stock products or inaccurate local pricing. Not only is it a bad experience for customers, you’re also wasting impressions.

Dynamic Ads for retail exists to drive foot traffic into stores by creating awareness and demand. This is a hyper-localized extension of Facebook Catalog Ads which, instead of being connected to online inventory, is connected to the LOCAL inventory from each stores, then showing the location-specific ads to Facebook users within a specific perimeter around your location. Facebook calls this DYNAMIC ADS FOR RETAIL.

From your ad, users will be able to get directions to the local store (see point #1 above) or they’ll be able to buy the product(s) online and pick them up in store – or simply save the product for future reference (you’ll be notified of this). We can then suggest similar products to these same Facebook users.

Doing it right: the price of toothpaste at your downtown location is higher than in your store in the suburbs? Push the right product at the right price to the right person at the right time.

Here’s how Facebook explains Local Inventory Ads

FEATURE 4 of 4:


Digital-to-in-store sales tracking is the holy grail of retail marketing (more about the ROPO effect in an upcoming article) and Facebook now gets us really, really close to this. Retailers can now match their in-store sales info with their Facebook Ads spend to know exactly which campaigns, ads sets or ads led to which in-store transactions.

That’s right: THIS ad impression led to THAT in-store purchase. (Well, almost).

How it works: You can now upload your offline events (in-store sales) into your Facebook business manager console (text or CSV format) and match them to your Facebook Ads statistics which, after being cross-matched, will provide a correlation between in-store transactions and Facebook Ads. By cross-referencing basic client info from the offline transaction (your customers’ Email or phone phone number, for example, up to 17 criteria can be entered to narrow down the results) with the data in your Offline Event Manager, you’ll get a surprisingly accurate portrait of which of your Facebook ads led to an increase in sales.

Going the extra mile: we strongly suggest using this data to create 2 types of Facebook audiences for your future advertising campaigns: Proven in-store buyers and a second group of prospects called “look-alike” in-store buyers; a sampling of Facebook users who share 90%+ of the attributes with your proven in-store buyers. We have set up and optimized this feature for multiple clients who have had phenomenal results.

The Flip – check this out: Absolunet’s performance marketing team went a step further by reversing the offline conversion logic. You can now retarget audiences digitally based on in-store transactions – by using that same offline event data, we can identify your clients digitally and market to them directly. Better still: remember the “look-alike” people we could target before? Well, we can now do that with every transaction from the past, well, years!

Here’s what the whole upload and correlation process looks like:

What’s next?

The brick-and-mortar retail locations that leverage these digital tools will connect with more customers and generate more traffic in 2017, period. Facebook’s B&M features make it possible to connect with the customer where she is and to do so in a way that is not only relevant for her, but to which functionalities and metrics are attached, allowing retailers to know what works, with whom and why (and when).

This ain’t the Yellow Pages, baby! Now that retailers can match in-store sales to digital marketing without using promo codes, they’ll be able to know exactly which campaigns drive foot traffic and subsequently adjust their digital and traditional advertising investments.

It’s a great time to be a (digitally aware) retailer!

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