Research has shown that 95% of all retail transactions still occur in-store, so smartphones have quickly become consumer’s favorite and most trusted “shopping assistant.” To assist retailers with tying together in-store visits after utilizing Google’s paid search online, Google launched their Store Visits metric to their Estimated Total Conversions tool last December. This metric assists Retailers with physical store locations to measure the influence of digital ads on in-store visits. Tracking in-store visits is a critical first step to helping retailers understand the true impact their digital investment is having on offline sales. Adlucent was an early adopter of this new feature. Here we share insights around how the Store Visits metric works, highlight some of the performance results we’ve seen, and examine how to best utilize this data.
What is Google’s Store Visits?
Retailers with multiple brick and mortar stores will often have a Google Places feed that lists each of their store locations along with the physical addresses, opening hours, phone numbers, etc. This information is used by Google to power programs such as Google Maps, Adwords location extensions, and more.
Google uses a combination of the Google Places + location tracking on smart phones to determine when a user has walked into a retailer’s store. When this occurs, and when Google has seen that the user also clicked on an online ad, this information gets fed back to Adwords as a conversion type called "store visits." It is important to remember that store visits are estimates which act to enhance your Estimated Total Conversions. According to Google, store visits are based on aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History. This data is then extrapolated to represent the broader population.
How does the data appear in Adwords?
You can view this metric within the AdWords interface by segmenting the data by Conversion > Conversion Name in order to view the conversion type "store visits". This metric is listed under each campaign. Be sure to also show a column called "est total conv" to see how many visits a campaign has generated. This data can also be viewed in more granular ad groups and keyword views. To see summary performance for all your campaigns, scroll to the bottom to view totals. Lastly, ensure that the performance time period goes back long enough to capture enough data. This is due to the time frame required for Google to sync visit data from multiple sources.
So what was the impact?
The extent to how much paid search programs were driving store visits was eye opening for us. We found that paid search drove approximately one million store visits from PPC campaigns for each retailer who implemented this metric, within their first four months. Cynics may claim that the traffic increases came from the retailer’s branded keywords; however, we are able to prove they are actually coming from a healthy cross section of the account. Here is a breakdown of store visits for that time period by campaign type for the retailers we looked at.
Given the growth of Google Shopping and LIA (Local Inventory Ads), we only expect these numbers to grow as Google becomes more aggressive in advertising these ad formats. Knowing the number of visitors that come in from search campaigns, it is imperative to recognize the value that your paid search endeavors bring to the offline stores, as well as online. It ensures that retailers understand the full impact each channel has on their overall business.
How do I estimate the revenue impact of a store visit?
Many retailers struggle with understanding the monetary value of a store visitor. Here is the formula we use to estimate the revenue impact of a store visitor:
Store visitors * in-store CVR * in-store AOV = estimated store revenue
If you encounter any issues trying to obtain accurate in-store stats, you can use conservative industry estimates to come up with estimated store revenue. Optimization practices, such as keyword bid management and mobile bid modifiers, can be adjusted using this additional data in order to take advantage of store traffic.
After analyzing in-store data over a four-month window, we found that, on average, paid search drove over 85% more incremental revenue once estimated store revenue was factored in. This is in comparison to looking at online revenue alone. The amount of additional revenue that paid search is assisting to bring in to a business can be significant, and should be factored into your marketing efforts.
How do I get started?
Our hope is that you are ready to start quantifying your in-store visits and revenue driven from paid search programs so, how can you get started? First, reach out to your Google representative, or your agency. You will need to make sure that your Google Places account has an accurate working feed.
Retailers with physical stores should ensure that they understand and quantify the impact online search programs are having on overall marketing efforts. Only measuring by standard online attribution models, such as last channel, is a thing of the past. Customers are omni-channel in their shopping behaviors, so we need to be omni-channel in our measurement.
For step-by-step instructions on getting started with Estimated Total Conversions, download a copy of our report, Three Ways to Make More Money from Mobile. Stay tuned for more to come soon from Adlucent on Local Inventory Ads, which enable visitors to quickly identify stores nearby that carry the product consumers are searching for online.