Attributing Retail Store Transactions To Online Clicks At Keyword Level


Updates to Google’s in-store conversion tracking now allow retailers to attribute user engagement at a keyword or ad group level, further expanding advertisers’ ability to see the offline impact of digital marketing.

In recent years, digital media has expanded data-capturing abilities and performance-driven ad features to outperform (and soon, outspend) traditional channels.

Digital advertising has opened new outlets for revenue growth and expanded audience insights beyond data available from traditional channels to assist advertisers in increasing brand awareness and ROI.

Digital Marketing Can Now Fully Support Brick-And-Mortar Sales

Through bridging online and offline data, digital marketing can now fully support brick-and-mortar sales, a segment that previously lacked in digital marketing measurement.

By leveraging the reach of mobile devices alongside the automation and unification of digital platforms, marketers can now see how user engagement continues beyond the click.

Google’s data ties specific content and keywords to offline user engagement to improve conversions and clearly identify the full impact of digital marketing. This transparency expands the connection between content clicks and in-store purchases through improved data accuracy and audience insights.

Google’s recent in-store beta program equipped advertisers with a deeper look into how online engagement stimulates in-store conversions. Advancements to Google’s platform connect store visits at a keyword or ad group level to identify optimal arrangements of content and targeting that drive users to convert.

Additionally, it offers nearly real-time transaction monitoring, allowing marketers to view store visits by day, week or month. This helps brands understand when conversion-focused content is most effective. Improved campaign insights allow for fine-tuning of targeting and delivery.

By integrating search ads with store visit data, retail marketers can see four times as many conversions overall, and 10 times as many on mobile devices.

Lessons From Google’s Beta Program

My company, ZOG Digital, was granted early access to test Google’s beta program and implement their new in-store attribution model for one of our largest retail clients, which has nearly 800 locations nationwide. The expanded insights from this platform allowed us to better tie online engagement to brick-and-mortar store traffic and attribute additional value to our campaigns.

Hyper-targeted ads were developed for each store location and displayed within a seven-mile radius. Data was monitored to track how users engaged with ads and identify when users visited a store location within 30 days of clicking an ad.

We were able to attribute store visits to ad clicks by tracking when users who were signed into Google accessed a store’s WiFi or approached a location. Conversion numbers were then generated from a sample of users who were shown the ad and calculated based on conservative conversion rate estimations.

How Did It Work For Our Client?

Google’s in-store beta program allowed our team to generate a 33-percent conversion lift and expand the conversion life cycle by 308 percent during the month of November. Additionally, cost per acquisition was reduced by 75 percent due to streamlined targeting and enhanced data gathered from paid search touch points.

Store visits are estimates generated from anonymized data collected from a large sample set of users who have activated Location History on their mobile devices.

To improve the accuracy of conversion projections, Google includes specific considerations to analyze the in-store behaviors of potential customers. In-store time is tracked to exclude short visits where sales were not made. It also leverages store mapping and WiFi signal strength to determine user locations within a store.

This extension of data monitoring expands the reach of engagement and further bridges the gap between retail stores and digital channels. With the continued development of paid search attribution, marketers will be able improve the value of their digital campaigns in 2016 with increased transparency that connects in-store purchases to digital clicks.

To begin connecting your brand’s in-store sales with clicks, ensure your digital presence is established with the proper local extensions within Google My Business listings and AdWords campaigns. Focus your keywords to attract local users with phrases like “near me,” and stimulate engagement with specific product-focused calls to action.

When used together, in-store conversion tracking can offer a more transparent view into the total impact of your digital marketing strategies and conversion-driving campaigns.

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