Better in-store attribution is here
Closing the online-offline attribution gap is difficult, but strides have been made in recent years. Columnist Mona Elesseily discusses some of Google's innovations in this area and how they might be expanded in the future.
There have been huge advances in hard-to-track conversions like phone calls, store visits and those that stem from the use of more than a single device. Lately, I’ve been particularly excited about the ability to better track online searches that result in offline purchases (also called SOBO — search online, buy offline).
In this article, I’ll cover some of the offline attribution progress we’ve seen, and I’ll make some predictions on where I think it’s headed. I find it very exciting we’re getting closer to closing the online-offline marketing gap.
Why is this important?
Closing the online-offline attribution gap is important for two main reasons.
First, SOBO conversions significantly outnumber online conversions. According to Google, although many people research products online, approximately 95 percent of retail sales still happen in physical stores. That’s a whole lot of marketing data that we’re not privy to and that we can’t factor into our optimization efforts.
Second, the current offline tracking method is labor-intensive and requires that offline data be consistently uploaded to Google. Specifically, you upload GCLID data, conversion date, time and other conversion details (It’s a five-column spreadsheet) back to Google, and they record the conversion event. This tends to be a huge hassle for companies; as a result, many don’t track offline marketing initiatives well.
Here’s some of what we’re seeing: