More and more, businesses and advertisers are pursuing omnichannel experiences for their consumers. As we increase our understanding of practices like showrooming and webrooming, retailers see the need to reimagine the in-store experience, and learn how online ad clicks impact store visits.
Just before the holidays last year, we talked about an update to AdWords’ store visits metric, which provides feedback on the omnichannel experience you create for customers. In March, AdWords took another step forward with store visits, and we’ll explore that here today.
Recent Updates to the Store Visits Metric
More than two years after initially launching the store visits metric, AdWords continues to improve its insights. The following three updates will globally extend store visits to more advertisers, and enhance the reporting that advertisers already using the metric will receive.
1. Machine Learning Innovation for Complex Physical Locations
Some physical stores are in relatively complex buildings or locations. For example, finding a store in a shopping mall or dense business district is more challenging than pinpointing a store that occupies the whole of a standalone suburban building.
Google already employs innovative machine learning techniques for tasks like language translation. Now, AdWords has upgraded the store visits metric to use these deep learning models to better predict store visits in complex physical locations.
2. Improved Mapping for More Defined Physical Locations
It’s not always clear where one store or building ends and another begins, especially when we’re using online maps and views. To solve this, AdWords refreshed Google Earth and Street View imagery for enhanced views of building exteriors.
Further, on-the-ground teams work with businesses to measure Wi-Fi strength and true boundaries inside the buildings.
3. Additional Verification of In-Store Visits
To ensure that detected visits did, in fact, occur, AdWords directly asks select users about locations they’ve visited and compares the answers with its predictions. The data then helps improve machine learning. As with the other updates, this is especially helpful in locations more dense with stores.
Store Visits: A Refresher
The store visits metric is important for any business maintaining both an online and brick-and-mortar presence. For qualifying advertisers, store visits uses conversion tracking for insight into how digital ad clicks affect foot traffic.
In a nutshell, AdWords uses anonymous, aggregated statistics without tying data to individual clicks or people. The measurement simply represents how many people click your ads and then visit your physical location.
For advertisers, the benefits include:
- Information on which campaigns and devices bring in the most foot traffic
- Clarity on your ROI
Ultimately, these statistics will allow you to make wiser decisions about the creative, financial and strategic elements of your campaigns.
Be aware that the following are required for advertisers to qualify for the store visits metric:
- Multiple physical locations in eligible countries
- Thousands of ad clicks and many store visits
- A Google My Business Account that’s linked to an AdWords account
- Each store location created in the Google My Business account
Hyundai UK’s Success with Store Visits
Let’s check out a specific example of the store visits metric making a difference in a company’s created omnichannel experience.
Hyundai UK knew that more than 60 percent of its test drives were made by people without appointments. Further, only 22 percent of those who did have appointments made them through the online form.
The marketing team needed a way to measure the effectiveness of online activities in bringing people into the actual dealerships. So, with the help of a team from Google, the company implemented the store visits metric.
Hyundai tested two branded keyword campaigns for six weeks. The findings showed that the campaigns drove 303,131 monthly website visits and 7,980 monthly dealership visits.
The dealership visits translated to 52 visits to each of 157 physical locations. The store visits metric revealed that 3.4 percent of paid clicks lead to a dealership visit within a month. Mobile ads in particular performed even better, with 4.9 percent of paid clicks leading to a physical visit.
Better yet, Hyundai learned that their digital efforts drove the bottom line. The store visits data translated into 2,394 units sold, indicating a 1,737 percent ROI for the brand’s ad spend. Needless to say, Hyundai UK planned to continue using store visits going forward.
As with many helpful AdWords metrics, the store visit measurement alone isn’t enough. Advertisers need to act on the insights it gives them if they want to create a truly seamless omnichannel experience for consumers.
To support that, Google offers some best practices for making the most of store visits, including:
- Segmenting store visits by device – specifically mobile
- Knowing which products drive sales in the physical store
- Calculating the best location bid adjustments
AdWords offers numerous metrics, and it’s tough to keep up with everything they can do for your brand. Viewing your advertising strategy as an omnichannel effort makes things a bit easier, and the store visits metric is a great place to begin.