It’s been well over a year since Google launched its Store Visits Report — and the excitement has only grown. With the desire for more data to truly determine ROI for all marketing campaigns, especially digital, I see this report becoming a go-to metric for all companies with a large brick and mortar presence.
What Is the Google Store Visits Report?
In a nutshell, the Store Visits Report tracks a user’s proximity to a store’s physical location. It then looks at that person’s browser history to determine if and when they clicked on an ad for the company. The report will show retailers if their ads are resulting in people going to their physical store, thus tying together online and in-store data. In terms of adoption, this is still in its infancy as the report is only available to a limited number of AdWords advertisers meeting strict requirements. However, we expect the number to grow.
How Were Online and In-Store Data Tied Together Previously?
There have been companies who have been able to tie together their online and offline activity prior to the Store Visits Report, however they had unique situations. One in particular was the French clothing retailer, Petit Bateau. They were able to tie online and offline because their site requires a log-in and they have loyalty cards. Matching these two data points in Google Analytics 360 Suite showed that 44% of in-store buyers had visited the website within a week of purchase. Also, 9% of in-store buyers visited the website the same day of purchase. Lastly, this case study showed mobile visitors converted at an 11% higher rate than desktop visitors and their average spend was 8% higher.
The Need for the Store Visits Report
Without a mandatory log-in and a loyalty card program, it is very difficult to capture the type of data that Petit Bateau collected, and requiring a log-in for a website can lead to other hassles and issues. Loyalty programs, though common, are not always the answer either. This is where Google’s Store Visits Report really comes into play. As long as a company verifies their business locations and links them with their ad campaigns, and they meet the requirements and are accepted into the program, they are good to go.
Results From the Store Visits Report
Google shared a case study from Pet Smart that showed 10%‒18% of ad clicks led to an in-store visit. Those numbers will surely convince brands to invest more in digital, which is likely the point of the report in the first place.
Looking Ahead: Questions and Predictions
As the Store Visits Report is rolled out to more AdWords advertisers, and as the value of ads increases, we expect to see an uptick in ad spend, particularly on mobile. With this, some exciting questions come to mind:
- If this data results in more ad spend will Google give us more data?
- Will we be able to see what people search for when they are standing in front of a shelf? To me, this is the most exciting part. If this data becomes available, I expect that we would likely see three major search categories: coupons, reviews, and informational searches.
- How would brands react to the above at-shelf search categories?
- Would brands be more motivated to create non-branded content?
- Will we see more on-site reviews?
- Can we deliver coupons to people specifically when they are in store?
The possibilities are endless and will likely be a reality one day. In the meantime, reach out to the team managing your AdWords campaign to see if you qualify for the Store Visits Report.