Late last year, Google added store visit conversions to estimated total conversions in AdWords, aimed at letting advertisers in the U.S. get an idea of how many people are visiting their stores as a result of their ads.
“If visits to your physical locations—like hotels, auto dealerships, restaurants, and retail stores—are important to your business, you can use conversion tracking to help you see how your ad clicks influence store visits,” Google explained at the time. “See which campaigns and devices drive the most store visits to your business. Understand your return on investment (ROI) and make more informed decisions about your ad creatives, spend, bid strategies, and other elements of your campaigns.”
According to the company, roughly 95% of retail sales take place in physical stores, but 32% of consumers say location-based search ads have led them to visit a store or make a purchase.
Google is now sharing some new research about how the feature has been helping businesses. It says retailers in the U.S. are measuring, on average, four times more conversions overall and ten times more conversions on mobile when including store visit data as part of their search ads performance.
In the auto and travel verticals, it says, advertisers are measuring double the conversions.
"This means an auto dealer can attribute twice as much impact for every click on their AdWords search ads because they are now able to include visits to their showrooms," says Surojit Chatterjee, Director of Product Management, Mobile Search Ads at Google.
Chatterjee highlights Sephora and Buffalo Wild Wings as brands that have had major success with store visits.
"With AdWords store visits data, Sephora is able to measure how digital advertising acts as a magnet to draw customers into its 803 US stores," he says. "Sephora learned that it receives an 18% higher store visits rate from mobile clicks compared to desktop. Based on that data, Sephora optimized its mobile bidding strategy to achieve a 25% higher return on ad spend than when measuring the impact of paid search on ecommerce sales alone. With insights from store visits, Sephora continues to use Local Inventory Ads to let customers looking for lipstick, eyeliner, or perfume know when those products are available at a nearby store."
"Buffalo Wild Wings, a national restaurant and sports bar franchise with over 1,000 locations, used insights from store visits data to validate and adjust its bidding strategy and realized an 84% lift in conversions," he adds. "Buffalo Wild Wings is also optimizing bids for local keywords and improving the online to offline guest experience. For example, its mobile search ads feature location extensions that show phone numbers and directions to nearby restaurants and to people searching for wings, beer and live sports."
In a blog post, Google cites 2012 PWC research indicating that 88% of shoppers in the United States do research online on their phones, tablets, or computers, before making an offline purchase. Given that this data is about three years old, one can only imagine that the percentage has only increased if anything (especially for phones and tablets).
Image via Google