Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Store visits insights gain momentum - more businesses are measuring the impact that online ads have on offline activities

Constant connectivity has forever changed the way people live and shop, giving rise to new consumer paths and blurring the lines between digital and physical experiences. With a quick search on any device, we can locate nearby businesses or find product availability in a local store in just a matter of seconds. In fact, 88% of US shoppers research online - on phones, tablets and computers - before making an offline purchase.1

As consumers’ paths to purchase continue to get more complex, it is more important than ever to understand how various devices, channels and media influence decisions along the way. Only then can marketers give credit where it’s due – both between and within channels.

We’re working hard to measure these new paths to purchase in AdWords. Last year, we announced store visits as part of Estimated Total Conversions to help marketers measure these new conversion paths -- an important step in bridging the digital and physical worlds. Since then, businesses across many industries have been able to measure the full value of their AdWords marketing. When businesses include store visits data as part of their overall conversions, they see that their marketing is driving more impact.

For example, in the US, retailers are measuring, on average, 4x more conversions overall and 10x more conversions on mobile when including store visits data as part of their search ads performance.
In the US Auto and Travel verticals, where driving a consumer to a dealer lot or hotel is a high value event, advertisers are measuring 2x more conversions when including store visits data. 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.

As marketers across many industries recognize that digital media drives people to stores and begin to use these insights, we wanted to share more perspectives from advertisers already using the data, information about how the product works and best practices for ad creative, targeting and attribution.

Customer Stories

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. 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. 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.
As a reminder, store visits are estimates 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 and only reported if it reaches a strict, highly conservative confidence level. To learn more about how the product works, visit our Help Center or watch this helpful video.

Google Best Practices for AdWords
Finally, to help advertisers succeed with their online to store campaigns in AdWords, we’ve created a new Best Practices Guide to driving store sales.

This guide will show you how to:
  • Enhance your online ads to help potential customers looking to visit one of your business locations
  • Improve the chances that the right person will see your ads through smarter targeting and bidding
  • Measure the incremental offline value of your online efforts
  • Fine-tune your campaigns for maximum return for your business, factoring both online and offline conversions
Throughout the year, we’ll continue to share best practices and stories from customers already using these insights to improve their businesses.  And we’ll be launching store visits conversions in 10 additional countries, starting today, in Australia and Canada.

We look forward to working with you to build better online to offline experiences for your customers.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Director of Product Management, Mobile Search Ads

1PWC, Research: Understanding how us online shoppers are reshaping the retail experience, March 2012