ComScore Joins the Fight to Link TV Ads With Store Visits

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Measurement outfit ComScore and location data company PlaceIQ are teaming up in a bid to help marketers understand how well TV and digital ads drive consumers into physical retail stores.

As marketers scrutinize every cent they spend on advertising and TV networks endure shrinking audiences for the commercials they show, ad effectiveness has become key to winning budgets.

Rivals like Nielsen have been linking in-store sales and TV ad spending since 2010, relying on data from 90 million loyalty card accounts as well as credit card data for results. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, provide rich data on where consumers go after they view digital ads, but can't compete when it comes to TV.

Including TV viewers who visit a store but don't buy anything, much less use a loyalty card, theoretically gives marketers richer information about the results of their advertising.

ComScore says it's able to track TV ad effectiveness by measuring which households see which ads, thanks in part to its 2015 acquisition of Rentrak, and pairing that information with PlaceIQ's mobile location data on where consumers go.

Quick-serve restaurants don't have big loyalty programs because many of their consumers still pay with cash, says Duncan McCall, CEO of PlaceIQ. "Now that industry has a key performance indicator of store visitation based on television ad spend that gives them a clear understanding of how media spend is driving foot traffic."

It's common for people to visit car dealerships but not buy anything, he adds. "Every visit doesn't result in a sale, but dealerships can now know if the issue is marketing, product or workers."

Anne Hunter, senior VP of advertising impact at ComScore, says her company's solution will measure digital ad viewability so advertisers can get an "apples to apples" comparison on campaign performance.

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