Online to Offline Advertising Guide: How to Activate Your First-Party Data

Learn how to activate your first-party offline data step by step to increase traffic and sales in your stores.
Updated on June 11, 2024

While all eyes are on the growth of ecommerce, many retail sales are still happening in physical stores. This makes offline data the key to understanding real customer journeys.

According to eMarketer, about 80% of worldwide retail sales will occur offline in 2021.1 As vaccine distribution widens, in-store sales are climbing across several product categories.

At the same time, marketers are increasing their investment in digital channels to reach consumers at every online touchpoint that can influence purchase decisions.

Offline data is often an untapped resource for building audiences, optimizing omnichannel ad campaigns, delivering better customer experiences, and spending ad budgets efficiently.

For example, to increase customer retention and drive sales from existing customers, marketers need to connect the dots across online and offline customer journeys—including all in-store transactions—and optimize campaigns based on true customer value.

Today, there’s also urgency for marketers to make sure they can leverage first-party data for their digital ad campaigns and strengthen their customer database before the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome likely happens sometime in early 2022. Still not aware about the differences between 1st party and 3rd party data? Learn more in our blog.

In this article, we walk through examples of omnichannel ad campaigns that are optimized with offline data and explain how to activate your first-party data step by step.

Criteo's Multi-Pronged Addressability Approach

Learn more about Criteo's addressability approach in an exclusive webinar with Chief Product Officer Todd Parsons.

3 Online to Offline Ad Campaign Examples

Marketers can use different types of offline data to optimize campaigns for any commerce outcome—including online and offline sales, customer acquisition, and customer retention.

No matter what approach they choose, marketers must make it a priority to integrate as much first-party offline data as they can while so many sales still take place in stores.

Here are three campaign examples that are optimized with offline data to help you get started:

Drive Incremental Store Sales from Offline Buyers

Step 1: Integrate your offline transaction data, customer data, store directory data, and local inventory feed.

Step 2: Build an audience of customers who purchased in-store in the last 30 days.

Step 3: Optimize your campaign for in-store sales by targeting high-value in-store buyers based on recent online and offline transactions as well as online behavioral data.

Step 4: Use creative formats that show product recommendations based on each customer’s browsing and purchasing behaviors and what’s in stock at their nearest store location.

Store consideration ad for a home furnishings brand.

Step 5: Understand the full impact of your campaign with combined online and offline sales reporting.

Drive ‘Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store’ Sales from Lapsed Offline Buyers

Step 1: Integrate your offline transaction data, customer data, store directory data, and local inventory feed with location data accessible through your advertising partner.

Step 2: Build an audience of offline customers who have not purchased in store in the last 60 days.

Step 3: Optimize your campaign for buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) sales by targeting lapsed offline buyers near your stores based on recent behavioral data.

Step 4: Use creative formats that show popular products available for click and collect and contactless curbside pickup at nearby stores. This added layer of convenience can re-engage previously active in-store shoppers.

Buy online pick up in store animated display ad for a men's suit retailer.

Step 5: View the breakout of BOPIS orders from your online and in-store transactions to gauge success.

Drive Store Traffic from Interested Customers Located Near Your Stores

Step 1: Integrate your customer data, store directory data, local inventory feed, and website tags.

Step 2: Build an audience of customers who visited your website in the last 30 days.

Step 3: Optimize your campaign for store traffic by targeting website visitors based on their proximity to your stores using location data accessible through your advertising partner. As interest in in-person activity returns, driving foot traffic can promote new product discovery and inspire additional purchases.

Step 4: Use creative formats that show popular products available in-store and allow customers to search for their nearby location.

An animated display ad for a men's suit retailer that allows consumers to search for their nearby store location.

Step 5: See how campaigns are driving traffic to your stores and how traffic is driving sales in those stores.

How to Activate Your First-Party Data

To get the full benefits of offline data integration, it’s important to share all types of first-party data with your omnichannel advertising partner. Complete these steps to connect all your offline data feeds:

Transaction Data

The first and most important step is to feed online and offline transaction data into your advertising platform. When you start to do this, onboard historical transaction data as well to account for purchase activity in the recent past.

This data is used for campaign optimization and to build audiences that include valuable offline shoppers.

CRM or CDP Data

After transaction data, the next step is to upload the customer data housed in your customer relationship management (CRM) platform, customer data platform (CDP), or your internal tool.

This data is primarily used to build audiences of customers who have bought from you in the past with the goal of increasing purchase rate and average order value.

There are many audience scenarios you can use to target and engage existing customers, including in-store buyers, top spenders, lapsed customers, at-risk customers, and seasonal shoppers.

Sometimes transaction data will also come from your CRM or CDP.

Store Directory

Upload your directory with all store addresses and hours for campaigns that drive store foot traffic and sales.

This data is used in two ways. First, it enables location targeting and helps identify customers in proximity to your stores. It also allows you to feature store information in your ad creatives and calls to action (CTAs) based on the location of the customer.

Local Inventory Feed

After you connect your store directory, go a level deeper and integrate your local inventory feed.

This data allows you to display relevant products in real time that are available online and in local stores.

Website Tags

The last step is to integrate the tags on your website so your advertising partner can collect granular information about what your customers browse and optimize campaigns to true customer behaviors.

There are multiple scenarios where this data comes in handy to further optimize campaigns. If a typical in-store shopper browses your website but doesn’t purchase, you can remind them of the items they viewed and drive them to buy in-store where those products are available.

In addition, you can engage people who recently visited your store locator page and showed an intent to visit your stores.

How to Choose an Omnichannel Advertising Partner

Use this checklist when you’re ready to launch online to offline campaigns and need to bring in an advertising technology partner:

Partner Network

Find a partner with their own expansive partner network that allows you to seamlessly and regularly onboard transaction and customer data from many sources.

Identity Graph

Look for a partner that can enrich your first-party data with additional intent and behavioral data and accurately link behaviors across devices, environments, and media and sales channels.

Offline Optimization

Ask about optimization capabilities that value customers beyond their online activities. Your campaigns should be optimized based on real customer journeys across all online and offline touchpoints.

Ad Personalization with Commerce Data

Ask for ad personalization based on commerce data that shows browsing and purchasing behaviors and signals what your customers are most likely to buy next online or offline.

Omnichannel Reporting

Find a partner with reporting capabilities that can show the impact of your campaigns on online and offline outcomes, as well as the ability to connect your campaigns with third-party measurement providers.

Talk to your Criteo account strategist or contact us to learn more ways to use your first party data to drive online and offline outcomes.

First-party data integration is one of the things marketers must explore to be ready for the future of advertising. Download The 2021 Digital Advertising Manual: Rethinking Budgets & Channels for the New Customer Journey to start adjusting your advertising strategy:

1eMarketer, December 2020

See how targeted audiences drove better results

Discover why 19,000+ global clients trust Criteo as their preferred advertising partner.

Increase in site visitors year-over-year (YoY)
Website visits from new prospects
Tricia Carr

Tricia is a writer and editor obsessed with learning new things. She's written about everything from retail trends and marketing technology to cocktails and vegan food. When she's not creating content, she's probably getting lost in New York or cooking breakfast food.

to our newsletter

Fresh sales trends and consumer insights to help
you plan and win.