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Barometric unveils its attribution service for snail mail
The measurement service matches street addresses to devices and monitors those devices’ online activity after the mailing.
Snail mail is the oldest living relative of direct marketing, but it has been the last to receive the same kind of measurement attention as its younger, online family members.
This week, attribution provider Barometric is discussing how it is correcting that imbalance, unveiling its solution for tracking the engagement and sales impact of physical mail. SVP of Business Development and Operations Matt Fusco told me that, while this tech has been employed by his company for months, it is only now being formally announced and unveiled as a service.
A brand undertaking a direct mail effort uploads to Barometric a list of the street addresses receiving the physical mailers. Barometric has a Device Graph covering 90 million US postal addresses (out of an estimated 125 million) and more than 650 million devices. It is able to connect that physical address to the ownership of multiple devices, Fusco said, for about 70 to 80 percent of the addresses in a given list.
That means that the address 123 Main Street in Phoenix, Arizona, might be connected to this smartphone, with a given mobile device ID, and this laptop, with a particular cookie.
That matching comes from matching various datasets. For instance, a location database may have matched the street address to the smartphone, because it located a router typically used by that smartphone every evening. And then the smartphone may be matched with the laptop, because the same user logged into a given site with the same credentials but from the two devices.
Barometric places a 1×1 invisible GIF pixel on the brand’s website, which Fusco said is typically on the home page, the page of the product being marketed and possibly the product category sub-section page.
When a user comes to the home page, the image pixel is retrieved, sending up the equivalent of an invisible flare. Within a configurable time window after the physical mailer has been mailed, such as five days, Barometric looks at the mobile device ID or particular cookie of the user visiting the site when the pixel is fired.
If the mobile ID/cookie matches the physical address receiving a mailer, Barometic can report at least an engagement response to the direct mail. Fusco said that a pixel is sometimes added to a sale confirmation screen, so that an actual sales conversion can be reported.
Or, working with a location data provider or a credit card company, Barometric can also report if this particular user’s smartphone visited a physical store or made a purchase there as the result of the recently received physical mailer.
Fusco said the only vendor he knows that places a similar emphasis on tracking the online impact of physical mail is PebblePost. As for accuracy, Barometic claims better than 90 percent accuracy in tracking the online impact of physical mail.