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PlaceConf: Google Explores the Future of Store Visits & Sales Measurement

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Since 2014, Google has measured more than five billion store visits in 17 countries. Today at the Place Conference, the Director of Product Management (Ads) Kishore Kanakamedala explained the company’s in-store and sales measurement tools, offering new insights the company is finding about the relationship between online and offline.

Kishore talked about how much faster ecommerce is growing compared to traditional retail. The impact of this has been seen by the closing of 9,000 stores since the start of the year, which is more than all of 2016.

When tracking online to offline behavior, Google found that 3 in 4 people who conduct a local search end up at a related commercial establishment within 24 hours. This means that consumers who search and then walk into a physical store are a lot more purposeful and a lot more likely to be further along the purchase journey.

For retailers, Google now allows consumers the ability to see what’s in a store. For manufacturers, Google launched Affiliate Location Extensions last October to help manufacturers drive foot traffic to their retailers. In addition, the company expanded store visits to 19 countries, helping more manufacturers see how search campaigns are driving store visits.

Google explained that the technology they use for tracking this online-to-offline behavior is built on four key pillars:

  • Mapping innovations
  • Ongoing advances in deep learning
  • Survey verification that maximizes the accuracy of machine learning models
  • First-party data from users who opt-in to activate Location History

Kishore closed with a list of questions that he and the team at Google are working toward answering:

  • What deserves more attribution credit – online or offline conversions?
  • Is incrementality and lift all they’re cracked up to be?
  • How do we really know that a customer is visiting a specific store?
  • Wouldn’t people come to a store even without ads? Especially existing customers?
  • How can I do more with location data?

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