Twitter Study Shows Online Advertising Drives In-Store Sales

As advertisers invest more and more money into online marketing, still 94 percent of all retail activity in the United States happens in physical stores. Quantifying online advertising efforts has been a challenge, and it has been extremely difficult or impossible to correlate purchases made in-store with advertising online—until now.

Twitter recently partnered with Datalogix, a firm specializing in measuring the offline impact of digital ads—and released the results of an initial study that leverages vast amounts of data to show a direct correlation between online advertising and in-store purchases.

How it works

Datalogix collects consumer data from loyalty programs and has a database with more than $1 trillion in offline purchase-based data. They use unique identifiers derived from consumer email addresses to link this purchase data to followers of brands on social media, making the connection between paid and organic online advertising efforts and in-store purchases.

Datalogixrecently put this to the test and ran studies on 35 consumer packaged brands. They measured the impact of organic and promoted tweets on Twitter in driving offline sales. What they discovered is both insightful and valuable to any marketer hoping to validate their online marketing efforts.

Twitter Study Findings

Engaged users will spend more on your brands than those who don’t, andthose who don’t engage but still see your tweets still spend more than those who don’t see your tweets.

This finding, while a little obvious, validates online advertising—and advertising on Twitter. The study found that users who engaged with a brand’s promoted tweet spent 12 percent more in-store than a statistically identical control group. And those who didn’t engage but followed the brand averaged a 2 percent sales lift.

Organic tweets drive sales, too. And the more you tweet, the greater the sales.

This finding is a little tricky, as the brands that were studied are major consumer packaged goods brands like Oreo, Wheat Thins and Trident who have a large number of Twitter followers. But it does show that if you continue to build your follower base and make regular tweets it is possible to boost in-store sales.

Before organic tweets can work, they need to reach a large audience. The more people see your post, the greater the impact will be. Promoted tweets help small businesses achieve this goal. If you have really great, relevant content to share, a promoted tweet will help get your message in front of new eyes, and will also grow the number of Twitter followers you have.

The Datalogix Twitter study also discovered a very intriguing statistic: those who saw promoted tweets purchased 29 percent more from those brands than those who only saw organic tweets from that brand. The reasoning behind this is left up to interpretation, but Twitter is using this information to demonstrate the validity of using promoted tweets.

Promoted tweets will allow your message to reach a broader audience and potential new customers. Those who already follow you on Twitter are likely existing customers—they have been to your business or have used your services before. Attracting new customers translates to an increase in sales, and if they are spending more than the average consumer all the better.

Relating the Twitter Study Findings to Your Business

Different businesses will certainly see different results than those promoted by Twitter in this study. Marketers shouldn’t take this study at face value, but can use the data uncovered to help guide their online marketing efforts. While you may not see a huge boost in sales, Twitter has shown that advertising on their social media website certainly couldn’t hurt.