This is a guest post from Brendan Davitt, Account Manager at
Although there are plenty of studies to prove online shoppers cross over into the brick-and-mortar experience more than you might think, there’s no denying that online advertising’s boom has eaten into physical store visits. Fortunately, there are a few quick ways to support the four-walled business through online efforts.
1. Set Up Store Visit Tracking
Want to prove that your Google ads are driving store visits? You’re in luck—sort of. Store Visit Tracking is a proxy metric for that.
Meeting the requirements to set up this conversion type requires a few different steps that Google outlines. First, in order to be eligible, your company needs to have multiple physical store locations that Google will need to verify. You can add verified locations through Google My Business.
Once this is completed, in order attribute a visit to a campaign, Google must have sufficient store data on the backend to attribute the data back to the campaign. If you meet the qualifications above and do not have Store Visit tracking set up, reach out to your Google representative to get started!
One piece of information that’s often overlooked is how the process actually works. Store Visit data can’t be linked back to individual clicks but rather is an anonymous aggregated metric. Current and historic data is utilized from Location Services via cellphone to create a modelled total amount. Because of this, there is often a latency period for Store Visit data.
2. Drive Visits
Once tracking is set up, it’s time to start testing. In my experience, highlighting specific events through YouTube has been super-successful at driving users into stores. Specifically, we’ve seen success with TrueView for Action, which allows for a stronger call to action that could be used to both drive customers in-store and to your website.
For example, with back-to-school shopping in full swing, there are plenty of targeting methods you can use to drive low cost per visit (CPV). If the goal is to drive a ton of store visits, I would leverage previous visitor lists given customer familiarity—someone who knows your brand within a target location is more likely to visit than someone in an acquisition audience.
Lists that highlight a customer’s lifetime value are also key. Customers who’ve purchased multiple times (in our experience, 10 or more) are more likely to visit the store. In order to keep overall efficiency down, we’ve found it’s a best practice to segment campaigns by remarketing and acquisition to best control campaign performance. In-market and topic / interest targeting are great ways to drive high volume through ACQ, but they often lead to higher overall costs.
3. Fine-Tune Your Optimization
For high-leverage optimization tips, consider location targeting and appropriate messaging. One trick is to include radius targeting around your stores or even bump it out to designated market area to gather specific geographical insights. Cross-referencing in-store revenue and transaction volume with how your geographic bid mods perform will ultimately lead to a more efficient program.
To narrow it down further, start with locations with higher in-store revenue, as they often boast store visits. Lastly, and to state the obvious, the right messaging is key to driving store visits. Calling out the value of visiting a store will help influence customers. This can easily be accomplished by calling out an in-store deal or giving people an option to “buy online or in-store.”
Put these in play now and make sure to test everything—audience lists, messaging, etc. Given a few weeks of data, you’ll be equipped to capitalize on the Q4 traffic surge to get your customers right where you want them.