What does Google’s ‘Visits’ metric mean for AdWords and Offline Shoppers

What does Google’s ‘Visits’ metric mean for AdWords and Offline Shoppers

In mid December 2014, Google announced that it was rolling out a new metric that helps to measure the impact of search ads on actual store visits and sales. The data collected by this new ‘visits’ metric looks set to prove extremely useful for marketing directors, and indeed anyone who works in the field of online marketing.

In previous years, it has been somewhat difficult to tie together the online and offline worlds of marketing and retail. Monitoring how many people click on an online ad and then go on to make an online purchase from the relevant store is one thing: online shopping behaviour can be tracked from that first spark of interest to the point of sale transaction with relative ease and clarity.

But actually venturing out into the offline world and correlating clicks on online ads with the volume of customers entering shops and making purchases: this was more mysterious, and potentially much more valuable, knowledge.

Google AdWords can now track physical store visits as a result of an advert click

Google’s AdWords metrics aims to provide marketers with data about the total conversion rate of their ads. That is, people who click on online ads who then go on to make purchases whether that is online or instore. This innovative, much needed solution to a huge gap in the data we currently can access about our customers looks set to provide a useful source of information.

By enabling marketers to understand their customers’ behaviour in more depth, it will provide the basis for more accurately-targeted advertising and hence an even higher conversion rate.

One concrete example of how online ads directly influence offline behaviour is when consumers use location dependent searches, or respond to location dependent online ads, to find a store in their area and then make a purchase from it.

By factoring in knowledge of other types of influence, such as cross-device conversions where a customer views an online marketing campaign on one device before making a purchase on a different device, Google’s new project will provide a helpfully holistic view of the psychological and physical effects of online marketing.