Google “Store Visits” Metric Will Boost OLA

Businesses have been looking for ways to measure the effect of online advertising on physical purchases since the medium was born, and Google’s new “Store Visits” metric gets us one step closer to closing the loop on that critical conversion.

It’s common knowledge today that most consumers are researching and shopping online before they buy. And while mobile ad spend is at it’s highest dollar amount ever, 93% of retail sales are still happening in-store. Google’s new metric uses a combination of search ad tracking, anonymized smartphone location data and aggregated store sales data to provide retailers with an idea of how well ad campaigns translate into real in-store purchases.

The metric is currently only available to big-box stores like PetSmart and BestBuy, as meaningful reporting depends upon very large sample sizes of data. So how might this type of tracking be rolled out to small, single-location businesses? The simple answer requires a direct link between tracking business’ digital advertising and it’s store data. Google, however, is actively refining the concept and won’t be working on such a individualized, small scale anytime soon.

Will a service with similar access to millions of mobile users’ locations, a massive advertising platform and a nation of reliant businesses – like Facebook – make a similar move? Either way, the future looks  good for business owners seeking clarity in the digital-physical customer journey.

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