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Driving Visits: A Step-by-Step Strategy

Whether you’re running a quick service restaurant, real estate business, bank, or some other kind of retail outlet, getting people to your location is the key to earning more business revenue. Sure, online sales are increasing, but people still spend more in-store. That’s why it’s key to optimize your ad campaigns to drive more visits to your location. This article will look at how to set up geofencing, and improve visitation performance.

What’s a Visit, Anyway?

So, what exactly IS a visit? GroundTruth’s location technology shows ads to consumers based on past or current location behavior. Each ad is called an “impression” and you buy them in groups of 1,000. GroundTruth tracks everyone who sees an ad impression and then visits your target location. That’s a visit. If someone visits your location but hasn’t seen the ad, that doesn’t count and GroundTruth doesn’t track it.

How Do You Know Tracking is Accurate?

GroundTruth has a proprietary mapping process called “Blueprinting” that maps the boundaries of locations like buildings and car parks. This makes it clear when a DeviceID that views a campaign goes to the location after seeing the ad impression. The accuracy of Blueprinting has been verified by Numerator (formerly InfoScout), and is going through the accreditation process for theMedia Ratings Council (MRC).

So. here’s how the Blueprinting and visitation tracking process works.

1. Set up Your Blueprint

Since data accuracy is a core value for GroundTruth, Blueprinting can take time. Each new Blueprint is quality checked to make sure the point of interest (POI) boundaries are right, and will enable reliable visitation tracking.

If you’re planning a campaign, it pays to start early. GroundTruth recommends that whether you’re using a handful of POIs or thousands, you establish your Drive-To locations at least a week before the campaign’s planned launch date. Starting early is also essential around busy holiday periods, when the Blueprinting team is swamped with visitation setup requests.

How Many POIs Should You Include?

When you’re starting a visitation campaign, it pays to have plenty of POIs. Large national brands with high foot traffic like McDonald’s and Subway often have great success because they’ve got plenty of easily accessible and well-known locations consumers can go to. Even if you only have a few POIs, don’t worry – you’re still building brand awareness. Consumers may visit even after the end of the campaign.

How Wide Should the Exposure Area Be?

GroundTruth prides itself on being able to reach consumers anywhere. However, when you’re running a visitation campaign, think about it from their viewpoint. How far is your target consumer prepared to drive to buy an item or enjoy a meal? Consider whether it makes sense to place your ads a few miles further out, or in an adjacent zip code to your location.

How Long Does Blueprinting Take?

The Blueprinting team completes most projects within two working days. Large projects can take a whole week. If you’ve got a project in progress, you can check the status of your new Location Group at any time. You’ll know whether it’s ongoing, completed, or rated as UTB. UTB means that there’s an issue with completing the Blueprint, which can happen with businesses located inside other businesses, like airport drugstores or cafes inside hospitals.

2. Create Location Groups and Audiences

When you use Ads Manager, Location Groups help you track POI visitation and create audiences for retargeting. A location group is simply a collection of POIs that you’re using for a campaign. As well as visitation, location groups help you create audiences for retargeting.

All blueprinted POIs passively track DeviceIDs of those who visit the location, and you can use these for retargeting. Again, if you’re planning to create a Custom Audience for visitation and retargeting, set up your Blueprint project well before the campaign launch date. That’s because it can take a while to gather those Device IDs. The longer you collect the audience, the bigger it will become.

Understanding Audiences

Audiences are a powerful weapon in visitation campaigns, and it is crucial to know the difference when setting up geofencing. There are three types of audiences:

  • Brand – consumers who’ve visited a brand in the past three months
  • Behavioral – people who fall into a behavior pattern. For example, people who regularly visit airports, hotels and car hire firms could be called “frequent travelers”
  • Category – this refers to a particular type of brand such as a restaurant, hairdresser or a retail outlet

It’s key to select the right audience for your visitation campaign so you’re targeting the right consumers. Ads Manager can help you optimize your audience. Once your campaign is running, you can assess audience performance, and add or remove audiences as needed. You can also get recommendations based on GroundTruth’s audience data on which audiences drive the best visitation.

3. Plan Campaign Timing and Budget

How long should your campaign be? GroundTruth needs to show an ad to users to track their visits, and not everyone visits immediately. That’s why, when setting up your geofencing marketing campaign, it’s recommended that visitation campaigns should run for at least two weeks, or even longer. Shorter campaigns may be less successful, because people may not see enough ads to entice them to visit your location.

If you think about it from the consumers’ viewpoint, some people will visit immediately. Others may need to see multiple ads, and some might wait for the perfect time, such as the weekend. Since visits don’t always happen instantly, it’s worth extending the campaign to capture those visits. That doesn’t always mean spending more: start with your available budget, then increase as needed based on performance. The more you invest, the better the chance of getting consumers to visit your location.

4. Optimize Your Campaigns

Location marketing is complex, and there’s often some trial and error until you get it absolutely right. As a self-serve platform, Ads Manager lets you optimize live digital campaigns at any time. Some of the tactics to try include:

  • Extend the campaign
  • Add more POIs
  • Add new audiences
  • Widen the targeting area
  • Reduce limiting campaign factors (such as demographic, technographic, publisher category, day parting)
  • Use the Visit Optimization KPI to optimize automatically
  • Try new tactics, such as GroundTruth’s ‘Neighborhoods’ targeting 

If you follow this guide, you’ll get more from your visitation campaigns. But if you need more help, especially on how to set up a geofencing campaign, email GroundTruth’s Platform Specialist team at selfservehelp@groundtruth.com.

Toby Carter
Director, Platform Sales