How to Measure the Effects of Online-to-Offline Marketing by Chiang, I-Ping

With the growth of digital marketing, marketers are always looking for ways to track the success of their campaigns. There are several traditional methods of measuring marketing performance, including through the collection of sales leads and conversion rates. However, these metrics only measure the success of a marketing campaign up until the point at which the target audience interacts with the campaign. Since digital marketing is largely based on advertising and branding, these traditional methods of measuring performance may not accurately reflect the results of a successful campaign.

The Growth of Online Shopping Through Marketplaces

E-commerce marketing, also known as online shopping marketing, rose to popularity in the early 2000s and became a $16 billion industry by 2010. This type of marketing is all about promoting products and services that are available for purchase online without having to visit a store. Online marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, have made it easy for people to discover products they may be interested in purchasing. Additionally, online marketplaces allow for more convenience for customers who want to purchase those products. For example, if a customer wants to purchase an iPhone from Amazon, they can easily do so without having to leave the comfort of their home. The growth of online shopping through marketplaces is evident in both Amazon and eBay sales figures, which have increased by 62% and 144% respectively between April 2020 and March 2021.

The Rise of Virtual Shopping

In the context of e-commerce, virtual shopping is defined as “shopping via email or other electronic means without ever leaving the comfort of your home,” according to HubSpot.

The prevalence of mobile phones and other digital devices has enabled online shopping via mobile phones even while the user is in a retail store. In 2020, mobile phone shopping grew by 16% and 11% in the US and UK respectively, compared to the previous year. One in five American smartphone users have now purchased something while in a retail store, compared to one in ten users in 2019. With the growth of mobile phones and other electronic means of making purchases, virtual shopping is undoubtedly the dominant force in digital marketing.

Why Does This Matter?

Since most major purchases in developed countries are carried out online these days, measuring the effects of online marketing is highly relevant. However, traditional methods of measuring marketing performance may not be adequate for digital marketers trying to track the success of their campaigns.

To illustrate the point, let’s say a marketer has advertised on social media for a new pair of shoes. After the ad runs for a while, the marketer sees a significant increase in web traffic that led to a conversion, such as an online purchase or a signed-up for a newsletter. However, since most major purchases these days happen online, the shopper might not actually leave the comfort of their home to purchase the shoes. In this case, the marketer can’t measure the success of the ad campaign based on a pair of shoes anymore because they haven’t interacted with a real-life human being. An online marketer can more accurately measure the success of their campaign based on sales leads and conversion rates within the digital sphere, where most online purchases take place today.

As the world becomes more digital and consumers gain more access to content online, marketers must continue adapting how they measure the success of their campaigns.