Leveraging Paid Search to Drive Traffic to Brick-and-Mortar Retail Stores

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September 30, 2008
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Leveraging Paid Search to Drive Traffic to Brick-and-Mortar Retail Stores

Posted by Michael Conway, Program Manager (Paid Search)

The client, a large retailer of outdoor products, wanted to expand their physical store presence.  In 2008, online and catalog sales were relatively strong, but driving traffic to their physical store locations was a challenge.   In early 2008, Performics found an opportunity to test the ability of paid search to drive offline traffic.  Four of the retailer’s stores were planning a Memorial Day sale, and Performics proposed running on online campaign in conjunction.

Leverage paid search to drive traffic to four retail stores running a Memorial Day boating products sale.

Four campaigns were built and set to geo-target a 200-mile radius around each store.  One group was created with terms themed around the event, such as “Memorial Day sale,” along with brand terms and brand terms themed around the event like “[retailer’s] boating sale.”  Copy highlighted the opportunity to receive $10 off any purchase over $50 with a coupon redeemed during the sale.  The landing page prompted customers to enter their email address in order to print out the coupon to bring into the physical store to get a discount.  There was also an option to have the coupon mailed to the consumer.  The campaign was live May 21-27, Memorial Day being May 26.

Targeted Cities
Hamburg, PA (Population 17,212)
La Vista, NE (Population 16,411)
Richfield, WI (Population 11, 273)
Rogers, MN (Population 6,971)

Forecasted Results
We had some uncertainty as to what the results would be and decided to use paid search conversion as a guide as to what to expect in terms of printed coupons.  Redemptions were based on some research and an educated guess:

Impressions: 120,000
Clicks: 15,000
Click-through Rate: 10%
Costs: $2,000
% Clicks to Coupons Printed: 3%
Printed Coupons: 500
Redemptions: 75

% of Coupons Printed Redeemed: 15%
% New to File Email Addresses: 44%

Actual Results
Impressions: 60,961
Clicks: 945
Click-through Rate: 16%
Costs: $1,053.20
% Clicks to Coupons Printed: 10%
Printed Coupons: 900
Redemptions: 360

% of Coupons Printed Redeemed: 40%
% New to File Email Addresses: 60%

Overall this was a very successful campaign.  We exceeded our expectations in every metric except for clicks and impressions.  This is most likely due to the fact that the targeted areas had a lower than average population density.  However, since the primary metrics (printed and redeemed coupons) exceeded our expectations, clicks and impressions were irrelevant.  In fact, it is more encouraging that we had less clicks and more printed and redeemed coupons because it lends to the effectiveness of the campaign.

The fact that printed coupons had a 10% conversion was surprising, but not a complete surprise because this retailer in general has a very high conversion rate in paid search, especially on brand terms.  Redemption rate far exceeded expectations. We think this really shows the opportunity for online campaigns to influence offline conversion. 

Next Steps
In the near future, we plan on supporting store launches with a similar approach to this test. For the retailer we tested on, we have developed a long term strategy to build out a paid search infrastructure for all their physical stores as a multi-channel coordination with physical store campaigns. 

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