Your Marketing Dollars: Online vs Offline

Posted by Erin Johnson on February 15, 2019

 Today, so many brands are looking to digital advertising as the primary (sometimes only) method to grow their product awareness and acquire new customers. Marketers are turning to digital because traditional retail is difficult (not to mention lacking in data) and the metrics from digital ad spend make it easy to understand ROI. At b8ta, we’re challenging the marketing mix status quo by building an offline model that complements online. Our b8ta stores are about demo and discovery—getting products out of the box and into the customer’s hands. It’s this vision, combined with our focus on providing real data, that allows marketers to measure money spent on a b8ta placement in the same way they measure digital ad spend. 

To help prove our point we analyzed data from our own stores and compared them to 2018 digital advertising benchmark metrics reported by Adstage.* We charge a flat monthly fee for a placement in a b8ta store, then we work with our partner across every stage of the marketing funnel. Take a look at what a $10,000 monthly spend looks like in b8ta store placements, versus being spent on digital advertising.

Offline v. Online_updated (1) 

Let’s start with impressions.

A digital advertiser spending $10,000 would buy an average of 3.6m impressions on the Google Display Network, nearly 86k impressions on Google Adwords, and just shy of 900k impressions on Facebook ads. Remember, a digital impressions does not mean that the viewer actually mentally digests or even truly sees the ad, just that they potentially could see the advertisement. Think about the last time you scrolled through social media; how much time did you devote to that banner ad?

At b8ta we measure and report an impression as when a customer walks within 12-18 inches of the product in our stores. For $10,000 in ad spend, a typical b8ta partner gets more than 60k impressions. While this is far less than what the potential for digital impressions, remember it’s in real life and 56% of shoppers say they visit stores to first see, touch, and feel products before buying them online. The customer has physically seen the product—understood the form factor, maybe observed some of its functionality from the digital display…


After impressions comes discovery.

The digital advertiser who spends $10,000 on impressions is aiming for clicks to their website. We call these clicks “discoveries” and take it to mean the user who saw the ad felt compelled enough to learn a little more. Industry benchmarks indicate that $10,000 on ad spend result in between 4,000-12,000 ‘discoveries’ depending on the platform.

In a b8ta store, a discovery takes place when a person spends 5 or more seconds actually engaging with the product. In fact, the average engagement time for a b8ta placement is 19 seconds. (What’s the average time someone spends on your website after clicking an ad?). This person likely picked up the product, read about it on the digital display, and tried it out.

With that same $10,000 spend on a b8ta placement, our partners generally receive around 15,000 discoveries monthly—significantly more than what was generated with the same spend on digital advertising, even though fewer impressions were created. b8ta in-store impressions converting into sales at a much higher rate, and that $10,000 spend is getting the product in the physical hands of 15,000 customers.

Real life engagement.

Finally, let’s take a look look at engagement. From a digital perspective, this is much more difficult to benchmark across an industry. What does digital engagement look like—longer time on the website? Add to carts?

Compare that to engagement in a b8ta store. We consider a customer engaged with a product when they seek out a demo from a b8ta tester. They are actively requesting to learn more, (much more of a commitment than a click), and then interact with the product as our expert b8ta testers explain benefits and features. They try it out—listen, engage, test, experience— something digital just can’t replicate. We believe nothing compares to real-life engagement.

We also have built a system that allows for our partners to collect qualitative feedback directly from the store team. Ask our team “Why do customers not purchase the product?” or “What is the most common objection a customer has when choosing not to purchase the product?”.

Consider how you’re reaching customers and which marketing channels are most effective. We believe retail, (especially the way we do retail), gives marketers a measurable and effective way to find and acquire new customers. This method is comparable to, if not better, than digital advertising. Still unsure? We’ll help you dig in to your ad spend and show you exactly how it would compare to using those marketing dollars to reach your customers in real life.

*Pratskevich, Anya (2018). Google Display Ads CPM, CPC, & CTR Benchmarks in Q1 2018. AdStage

b8ta is Retail as a Service: you provide the vision, we provide the retail experience that meets your needs. With our retail subscription models you can scale up or down as your business grows or pivots. Set up shop for the consumers you want, we do the rest.  Learn more at