Bringing the Online Bacon Home

Interactive agency Avenue A announced the launch Monday of ChannelScope, an analysis service that lets multi-channel marketers quantify the offline sales impact of online ad campaigns. The bigger news is, beta tests of ChannelScope showed that Internet ads drove more sales offline than online.

In one test with multi-channel retail client of Seattle, Wash.-based Avenue A, an operating unit of aQuantive , an online ad campaign drove more than 20 percent of in-store sales. Another showed that online advertising delivered four off-line sales for every e-commerce transaction. ChannelScope beta testers, each with more than 100 stores in the U.S., declined to be referenced in the release, but Avenue A’s client roster includes Best Buy and Eddie Bauer.

“Both of these clients are starting to optimize their online campaigns based on the offline sales impact,” said Avenue A president Clark Kokich. “Not only can we [tell them], ‘This is the impact in the stores,’ but, ‘These are the campaigns, the sites, the offers that are driving store sales. These are the ones that are not.'”

Avenue A’s method of connecting online ad exposure to offline purchasing maintains consumer privacy by keeping the retailer’s transaction data separate from Avenue A’s ad-serving information. Internet users receive a random, anonymous cookie ID for each ad campaign. To analyze the campaign, ChannelScope matches those cookie IDs with a different database of anonymous IDs maintained in the retailer’s transaction database, using a proprietary and patent-pending process that Kokich would not detail. The client then gets a report on the aggregated numbers of purchasing customers who saw the ad versus those who purchased without seeing the ad. “It answers the last big question that a lot of online advertisers are asking,” Kovich said.

ChannelScope is more workable than earlier attempts at tracking consumer behavior across sites and channels, said Rex Briggs, principal of Marketing Evolution, because “They’ve done a great job of being respectful of personally identifiable information and keeping it anonymous. Previous efforts raised the specter of privacy violations.”

Briggs pointed out that ChannelScope was a real product that is already being used. “It should be a wakeup call for retailers,” he said. “They should be thinking about the multi-channel effect.”

Based on this evidence,” Kokich said, “if retailers are not looking at the Web site as a marketing tool for entire retail channel, they’re making an extraordinary mistake.”

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