Posts tagged Store
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Ecommerce sales came to more than $341 billion in 2015. That’s huge. But amazingly, 90% of sales still happen in stores, not online, according to Google.
That’s why AdWords introduced the in-store visits metric in 2014. The consumer purchase journey is now more complex than ever – and Google wanted to create a way businesses could understand how much in-store foot traffic their location-based PPC ads were driving.
Thus far, Google has measured more than 1 billion store visits. But not every business has access to this powerful metric.
At the Google Performance Summit – where Google announced Expanded Text Ads, new local search ads, and gave us a preview of the new AdWords interface – in-store conversions were one of the huge topics of conversation, and Google promised this metric would soon become more widely available to more businesses.
If you’re a local business, the combination of new Google Maps Local Search ads and in-store conversions will be an absolutely killer combination.
To get you ready, here are seven things you need to know about AdWords’ store visit conversions.
1. What are store visit conversions?
Google estimates store visit conversions by looking at phone location history to determine whether someone who clicked on your search ad ended up visiting your store. Google looks at ad clicks on all devices – smartphone, desktop, and tablet.
In-store conversion data will help you understand which ad campaigns, keywords, and devices send the most people to your store so you can optimize your account to increase ROI. It doesn’t guarantee that someone bought from you – just that they visited after clicking on one of your ads.
Google’s goal is to provide the data so you can attribute the online value of your ad spend. In less than two years, advertisers in the retail, restaurant, travel, automotive, and finance industries have counted more than one billion store visits globally.
For privacy reasons, in-store conversion data is based on anonymous and aggregated data gathered from people who have Location History turned on. A conversion can’t be tied to an individual ad click or person.
Here’s Google’s official overview video on AdWords Store Visits Conversions:
2. What technology does Google use to measure store visits?
Google Maps knows the exact coordinates and borders of millions of businesses globally. That’s why the AdWords team worked with the Google Maps team to match location history for hundreds of millions of users with Maps data for more than two million businesses.
Google says they use a hybrid approach with a large number of signals in order to measure visits.
To ensure accuracy, Google also surveyed more than 5 million people to confirm they actually visited a store. Google used this information to update its algorithms and reported that its results are “99% accurate”.
3. What’s new with store visits?
At the Performance Summit, Google announced that it most recently made in-store visits available to manufacturers, like auto manufacturers, to track store visits to dealerships.
Google shared a case study on how Nissan UK has been using store visit conversion data to see which keywords and campaigns were driving people into their dealerships to buy a car and increase their ROI by 25x. They’ve used the data to map buyer journeys to reach them at key moments of the research journey.
They discovered that 6% of their mobile ad clicks resulted in a visit. This is huge, considering that the average consumer only visits a dealership twice before actually buying.
You can see more in this video AdWords posted:
4. Is Google using beacons to improve?
Google said it is starting to experiment with beacons to improve its algorithm. Google is exploring how to use Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) beacons for in-store analytics and in-store visits.
In fact, Google has a BLE beacon pilot underway that should eventually help people who operate at smaller locations and businesses by ensuring Google is getting and providing the most precise and accurate location data for the least amount of effort.
5. How many store visits are incremental?
Though most purchases happen in person at a physical location, digital channels – especially paid search – still play a huge role in the research and buying process.
Google wanted to quantify the substantial offline impact mobile search ads can have on a business. So Google ran a study of 10 top big box US retailers (including Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond) to determine how many store visits are incremental.
What Google found was that, on average, the number of incremental store visits driven by mobile search ads actually exceeded their number of online purchase conversions.
The study essentially found that these store visits otherwise never would have happened, if not for the influence of mobile search ads.
6. How can you get access to store visit conversions?
Store visits have been made available to more than 1,000 advertisers in 11 countries so far, and Google promises more will gain access soon. If you want to start tracking store visits, you can contact your account manager.
Not every business can track store visits yet – there are a few requirements. You must:
- Have multiple physical store locations in an eligible country.
- Receive “thousands” of ad clicks and “many” store visits every month.
- Link a Google My Business account to your AdWords account.
- Enable location extensions.
7. Where can you view visit conversions?
Store visit conversions will be added to the “All conversions” column in your campaign reports. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to add this column to your reports:
Store visits are available at the campaign, ad group, and keyword level and can be segmented by device. Google provides step-by-step instructions here.
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The Digital High Street 2020 Report calculates that more than £150bn of retail sales are now influenced by digital.
The report further suggests that retailers whose services don’t meet customers’ expectations could lose more than £12bn a year.
The Digital High Street Advisory Board announced in March 2015 a five-year strategy that sets out ambitions to connect town centres to mobile, broadband and wi-fi, while also improving digital skills, by 2020.
But internet connectivity and technology are only part of the picture.
The real power of digital is about mindset. About being more customer-centric. If you want convincing that a retail business needs digital transformation, then look at your customers’ behaviour.
In our brand new ClickZ Intelligence Report, The Future of Customer Journey, Martin Talks looks at how digital technology and neuroscience can be used to create more people-centric organisations, based on their own customers’ behaviour and that the journey is no longer a linear route.
The entire 45 page report is available to download by signing up to ClickZ Intelligence here. In the meantime however, let’s take a look at some of the implications of a digitally transformed retail industry, along with Martin’s recommendations.
Recognising that the customer is in control
Digital is inherent to the customer journey. It’s rare that at some point between research and purchase, part of the journey isn’t touched by connected technology.
This means that a customer can alter the direction of their journey with the touch of a button. They can’t be funnelled into a retailer’s preferred channels in quite the same way they were before.
Look at the rise of ‘showrooming’, where a customer enters a shop for research and perhaps to get some guidance from shop assistants, but then goes and buys the same product online.
How should retailers respond? By recognising that showrooming will happen as customers can do as they please and offering them a better service.
You can do this by price-matching, using staff members with connected tablets, price comparison kiosks or mobile apps with which customers can scan any product and check a competitors’ price.
Moving on from the 4 Ps to the 4 Cs
The 4 Ps has dominated marketing thinking for some time: price, product, promotion, and place. But this thinking is linked too much with seeing customers as targets that need to be promoted at.
You should instead think in terms of the 4Cs: creating, curating, connecting and culture.
Your customers should also be included in your digitally-aligned thinking, as should your suppliers and business partners.
‘Systems thinking’ is the process of understanding how every element influences one another within a complete entity, or larger system.
Systems thinking is needed to create and execute marketing in an integrated fashion, and for the organisation to deliver joined-up experiences.
This requires breaking down organisational silos that may for example prevent offline marketers knowing what online marketers are doing, or the in-store employees knowing what the ecommerce team are doing.
An example of joined-up thinking, is the ability not just to find a store on a mobile device, but to check stock availability from the mobile and locate the nearest store that has real-time stock availability.
Every journey is individual, so personalisation is essential. Understanding that a person may have transacted online should be recognized by an assistant in store.
This can be achieved in a number of ways. Facial recognition of customers based on the sort of technology used in airports for security scanning is possible. Indeed, around 30% of retailers use facial recognition technology to track customers in-store, according to research by software firm CSC.
Technologies that pair with smartphones are also being used. Macy’s deployed beacons in nearly 800 stores throughout the US in order to track customer movements within store to allow recommendations and discounts.
Offering a consistent brand experience across channels is crucial for developing trust. This needs to extend to the service experience too.
This could include a ‘reserve in store’ option, such as Argos offers, and a postcode lookup tool which checks stock levels in local stores.
Cross-channel discounts also reinforce a consistent experience. This includes the ability to make discount offers available online and mobile to be redeemed in store and in store offers to be redeemed online via such techniques as bar-codes or QR codes which are scanned.
For much more detail, download our brand new ClickZ Intelligence Report, The Future of Customer Journey.
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In what seems like a stark contrast to Apple’s backing away from its longstanding mobile ad marketplace, iAd, the company will instead be getting back to the ad business, allowing app developers to pay for ads to appear on top of search results in the lucrative Apple App Store.
Taking note from both Google and Facebook, Apple is making many moves to make its ad offering more open and accessible than ever.
In the meantime, it is filling holes in its previous iterations of iAd, starting with a self-serve, second price auction-based platform with no initial minimum spends.
Apple’s plan to open up APIs for campaign creation, management, and reporting shows how the tech giant is serious about giving advertisers the tools to make a more automated and simple manual process.
Another smart move to create efficiency is Apple’s Search Match feature, which is similar to Google AdWords Universal App Campaigns in allowing an advertiser who is either more novice or strapped for time to set up a basic campaign in fewer steps.
Basic features such as age, gender, location and OS targeting are available, but they will still be much more limited than Google, Facebook and even Twitter’s capabilities.
Apple’s offering also include two areas that seem more limited than others: creative use and data measurement.
It seems like Apple will initially limit creative use to the assets that are already approved within the App Store. This will handcuff advertisers who are used to developing, testing and driving optimizations through custom designed creative ad iterations.
Apple’s stance to keep tight controls over its user data, however, is not surprising.
Although the company is allowing advertisers to track “clusters of users” by implementing “a few lines of code,” it is unclear if Apple will be partnering with standard third-party app attribution companies, such as TUNE, AppsFlyer and Adjust that would offer more sophisticated ad tracking to an individual user level.
Nevertheless, App marketers will now be able to fully capture search intent in both major app stores and promote their apps across both iOS and Android systems.
Though Apple Search ads will not officially launch until the fall, brands and marketers should immediately opt-in for the beta from Apple’s developer portal given participation is free and free downloads can be garnered now.
Along with Google’s announcements of updates to Google Adwords’ new features a few weeks ago, advertisers should also actively assign their agency partners to develop a smart App Store search strategy that takes advantage of all that both Google and Apple has to offer.
Tim Villanueva is the Head of Media Partnerships at Fetch and a contributor to Search Engine Watch.
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