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Microsoft touts retailing image with traffic-driving mobile campaign

Microsoft is leveraging the power of mobile to drive traffic to its retail stores and bolster its image as a retail brand as well as a software maker.

A Qualia co-developed campaign held during last year?s Christmas holiday season served consumers in three groups a Microsoft holiday ad on a mobile device, then tracked the lift in store visitation of the users who were served an ad compared with a control group. The nearly 7 percent lift proved that the campaign connected with users who had interest in the Microsoft brand and helped push them to visit the store location for their holiday shopping needs. 

"We've seen the strength of these new intent data signals time and time again,? said Kathy Leake, CEO and cofounder of Qualia.  ?Now we are able to leverage them specifically into a campaign to drive mobile traffic to in-store for a major brand.?

Boosting brand
The campaign?s objective from early November through Christmas Eve was to drive traffic and revenue in-store throughout holiday season and generate sustained enthusiasm for the Microsoft brand. It included a combination of standard mobile ads and rich media expandable mobile ads across both in-app and mobile web inventory. Qualia buys media through an exchange environment and layers on their intent targeting. 
Qualia worked with research vendor Placed and used its in-store traffic methodology to gauge the effectiveness of Qualia's consumer intent data and commercial signals expressed across apps, ecommerce and social in driving people in-store. 

Microsoft ran a rich media unit that was constantly evolving with "12 Days of Deals" messaging. 
Highlighting importance of intent data.

Qualia, which identifies intent through an aggregate of signals across ecommerce, social and apps to determine the most qualified consumer for a specific campaign, served consumers in three target groups ? Microsoft enthusiasts, holiday shoppers and tech influencers. 

Leveraging a partnership with Placed, Qualia was able to track the lift in store visitation of the users who were served an ad compared to a control group. 

The 7 percent lift was evidence that Qualia reached users who had declared personal intent and interest in the Microsoft brand and helped push them into visiting the store location for their holiday shopping needs. 

In the fourth quarter, Qualia drove 65,525 store visitors to a Microsoft Store. It also registered a lift of 6.65 percent when compared to the unexposed population. By comparison, Placed said 30 percent of all campaigns they do for marketers do not generate lift.

For the past few years, Microsoft, an iconic software maker and major player in the digital revolution, has been opening new retail stores and expanding its retail presence to directly connect with customers.

It is preparing a flagship store on New York?s Fifth Avenue for launch at a yet-to-be-announced date. The Fifth Avenue location sits in the center of a high-profile shopping corridor, several blocks from Apple?s store, offering an opportunity to market the brand and capture shoppers. 

Microsoft?s Web site lists more than 100 store locations in the United States.

Retailers are recognizing that the in-store experience is increasingly about inspiration and finding how products fit into a customer?s life. This is because mobile shoppers are more self-directed as they have easy access to a wealth of information about a wide variety of products.

Amplifying signals
Marketers need to identify which signals in smartphone users? online behavior are the strongest indicators of willingness to buy the retailer?s products and then what these retailers can do to amplify those signals and convert them into sales. 

Microsoft?s campaign points to the importance of ecommerce retailers thinking seriously about customer intent to purchase, and making it a key design point for mobile experiences served to smartphone users.

Bolstering Microsoft's retail presence.

?The key takeaway is markedly improved lift and real-world attribution that can be optimized for greater and greater return," Ms. Leake said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York