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Oct 08 The Problem with Foot Traffic Studies in Influencer Marketing

Foot Traffic Studies for Influencer Are Effective, But Not For Everyone

Imagine walking into your CEO's office and saying, "People who saw our influencer content were 5% more likely to walk into our stores than people who didn't." We'll, that's all doable if you're willing to invest in an influencer marketing Foot Traffic Study. But before you dish out those dollars, we recommend you take a step back and consider if this investment is right for your brand.

How Does an Influencer Foot Traffic Study Work?

Influencer Marketing Foot Traffic StudyThe study itself is quite simple, but as we said requires a significant investment (we're talking $350,000+). In short, you want to analyze the rate at which mobile devices exposed to influencer content enter a particular set of stores versus a control group of devices not exposed. Here's how you do that:

  • By using location data from mobile devices, track the number of exposed devices that enter the store(s) as compared to a lookalike group of devices that did not get exposed.
  • By matching exposed devices going into the store against the control group, foot traffic lift can be measured.
    Pro Tip: If the test and control audiences are properly designed, mitigating factors like use of desktop devices or purchase of a new device after exposure should be the same across each group.


Reasons Why a Foot Traffic Study Might Not Be Right for You

As a full-service influencer marketing agency we've had a handful of brands approach us about conducting foot traffic studies on their behalf, but there are two main reasons why we would advise the client in another direction. Take note of the following items to see if they're also applicable to your brand or the specific product you want to promote with an influencer marketing program.

restock shopping tripsFoot Traffic Study Influencer Program: Carusele Image by Simply Audree Kate for Walgreens

Is the product you want to promote an item that's typically added to a shopping list or the sole reason for a special shopping trip? Items, such as personal care products, that are typically purchased along side other items when someone is already in-store are not ideal for foot traffic programs. That said, a basket building influencer program that promotes the purchase of your product along side others during these types of trips could be an alternative solution (though you still won't be able to conduct a proper foot traffic study).

HIGH FREQUENCY RETAILERSFoot Traffic Study Influencer Program: Carusele Image by Mommy Diary for Walgreens

Again, thinking about the specific product being promoted, consider the types of retailers who sell the product and what other types of products are available. If you want to conduct your study along side a high frequency retailer (think Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc.) who sells a wide assortment of merchandise, any traffic lift created by the influencer program is likely to be “washed out” over the study period. Similarly, while you're targeting people to add the product to cart, foot traffic studies only measure if the device entered the location. They are not able to measure what the owner of that device purchased.

TARGETING CONFUSIONFoot Traffic Study Influencer Program: Carusele Image by The lush List for Tyson

The final question you should ask yourself is, "Who am I targeting, and does this person have buying power?" For example, we've executed many campaigns where the product is aimed at younger audiences, but it's the parents who have all the buying power. In a foot traffic study, devices for both the child and parent may enter the target location, but the younger target is less likely to buy.


With these considerations in mind, we hope you're able to make an educated decision on whether to move forward with an influencer marketing foot traffic study. When done properly, they have proven to drive 16x better ROI than digital marketing - a solid argument for wanting to implement one yourself. If you're looking for an agency partner to help strategize what the study will look like for your brand, contact us today using the form below, or check out our other post on how you can measure the ROI of your influencer marketing programs.