Google's 'Proof' That Search Ads Boost Offline Sales

Chris CrumAdvertising

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Google is showing what it says is "proof that online search ads can boost offline store sales" on its Think Insights site.

This proof comes in the form of an article written by Kirthi Kalyanam, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing and Director, Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University.

Kalyanam looked at research from Applied Predictive Technologies from between 2008 and 2011 collected from experiments with 13 major Google advertisers across various categories. The retailers participated in 15 experiments to measure how online desktop search ads impacted in-store sales.

Looking at the research Kalyanam pulls stats like: Investing in search ads increased incremental offline store sales by an average of 1.46%; sales return on search ad spend was between 2x and 14x; test categories saw an average sales lift of 5.8%; those who "heavied up" on spending on key category terms saw sales lift per category between 1.5% and 16.9%.

"Unlike pure-play competitors, multi-channel retailers can connect with consumers in both the physical and digital worlds," says Kalyanam. "Create a seamless cross-channel experience that puts online search advertising to work driving in-store and online purchases. It’s also important to note that the experiments I looked at were only testing online desktop search. We can expect the impact of search ads on offline sales to likely increase substantially if we account for constantly connected consumers, and the mobile search opportunities they bring with them when they shop."

"We already knew that investing in search ads is a proven way to boost digital purchases," he adds. "But if the effectiveness of digital ads is only being tracked through online sales, multi-channel retailers are likely missing a piece of their ROAS.

Google is working on getting advertisers more data about how their search ads have impacted in-store sales. The company talked a little about this in its announcement for Estimated Total Conversions, but even since then, reports have come out about Google beta-testing a program that uses smartphone location data to determine when consumers visit stores.

Last week, Google introduced yet another Google product that users will be using in stores - the Google Wallet Card. It's hard to imagine that data won't be gained and used from these as well.

Images: Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.