Google to expand “Store Visits” online-to-offline foot traffic measurement

When offline visits are factored in mobile search, ROI goes way up.

Chat with MarTechBot


Although it’s well known that more than 90 percent of commerce happens offline, it has historically been difficult to measure the impact of digital media on local spending. Many companies have been working on the problem, including Google, which introduced store visits tracking two years ago.

As part of a slate of ad-related announcements at its Performance Summit today, Google revealed that it has measured more than one billion store visits since December 2014. Today, Store Visits measurement is available to 1,000 advertisers in 11 countries. The company called itself “the largest omnichannel measurement provider in the world.”

Google is going to be expanding Store Visits tracking to a much broader range of advertisers, and eventually to small businesses. However, the current methodology isn’t accurate enough for small locations; there are challenges of scale and location precision. Accordingly, Google is considering ways to augment Store Visits with beacons, which will help verify that a user is actually present inside a store location.

During its keynote this morning, Google presented several case studies to illustrate how, once the connection between search ads and incremental offline visits is revealed, ROI dramatically increases. Target, Nissan UK and Seven & i Holdings in Japan were brand examples used to show the value of capturing offline store visits.

Target, for example, found that one out of every three clicks on its mobile search resulted in a store visit. This caused the company to boost mobile search spending. Google hopes by making these metrics available to more advertisers, it will see that reaction en masse.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

Get the must-read newsletter for marketers.