Facebook and Google link online ads to offline sales
In 2016, Facebook and Google began introducing ways to measure the effectiveness of online ads by linking them to offline sales and in-store visits. Facebook's measurement tools are intended to allow stores to see how many people visit in person after seeing a Facebook campaign, and the company offered real-time updates and ad optimisation. Facebook noted that information will only be collected from people who have turned on location services on their phones. The company also offered an Offline Conversions API that would allow stores to match transaction data from their systems with Ads Reporting and gather insights about the demographics of those who make purchases.
As early as 2014, Google began introducing a store visits tracker that helped show which ads drove foot traffic; among the new tools for 2016 the company added local ads to Google maps.
Writer: Mary Swant