If you're living in Australia, like most of our customers, you'll appreciate that at this point Google pretty much owns Internet search. Recent reports show us that around 95% of all searches are done via Google's ecosystem (Source).
Why does this staggering statistic matter? Well, if you're a business trying to get your customer's attention, you can't ignore the reach and impact of Google on your business.
It might sound like a David vs Goliath battle, and some experts might want you to believe that dealing with Google and their frequent algorithm updates are bad for business.
Our view is a little different.
We know that Google is constantly trying to improve the user experience for search customers, business owners and advertisers. Do they always get it right? Probably not. Do they care about this problem? Absolutely.
That brings us to an innovation that Google launched way back in 2014 that in our humble opinion is widely understated in the omnichannel retailers toolbox: the 'store visit' conversion action.
What is a 'Store Visit' conversion?
A store visit conversion occurs when someone interacts with your ad on the google platform and subsequently visits your store location associated with your Google My Business account.
So whilst you might be advertising online for product sales in your eCommerce site, if you also have bricks and mortar locations this can track traffic that expressed interest in your products (clicks) and subsequently visited a store.
In recent campaigns, we've seen as much as a 4:1 ratio of store visit conversions vs. actual online conversions for an online sales campaign.
That's a pretty huge number to talk about.
Simply because in store conversion rate is expected to be much much higher than your online site conversion which is typically between 3-7% (if that's not your average, chat to us).
Conversion rates are higher in store because of your retail staff, the retail environment and also because the customer has made time and effort to get off the couch and therefore will be more invested in completing the transaction.
How accurate would my store visit data be?
It's important to note that store-visit conversions are a calculated number and not an exact number. Why? There are other factors we may not ever know about, but we can assume the two biggest reasons are location privacy and cross-device tracking.
- The location tracking issue is simply that some customers are likely to have their location data turned off. To account for this, Google knows the percentage of customers that have location data turned off in your ads account and factors this into your store visit results.
- The cross-device issue refers to how many people have a shared cookie between their desktop and mobile accounts. You can assume if your customer has signed into their Google account on both devices, they will be cross-device tracked. But it may be the case for some users that they saw your ad on a desktop device they weren't signed into or browsed in incognito, and therefore we can't relate them to their mobile device. So Google will account for this issue also in their data.
Since we don't know the exact algorithm Google uses, we kind of have to trust they have our best interest at heart. But if you trial a campaign and look at your store visit data, you'd know pretty quickly if that foot-traffic is being useful or not. We would always suggest starting small and evaluating results before scaling up.
One last thing about store visit conversions, not everyone has access to them. It hasn't launched in all countries and is blocked for some business types.
Speaking to a Google Partner (like alphawhale) can help with this. Or if you have any questions about store visit data, get in touch!