Google Takes Offline Store Visits, Sales Measurement Mainstream

At Google’s “Marketing Next” event today the company made several significant online-to-offline targeting and analytics announcements:

  • Location extensions are coming to YouTube ads
  • Offline store visitation measurement for YouTube ads
  • Expanded availability of in-store sales measurement for AdWords

On the third bullet, Google has been experimenting with in-store sales measurement since 2014 and has licensed credit card transaction data to match mobile users with store visitation and sales.

Today the company also said it’s expanding availability of in-store sales measurement. There are two approaches:

  • A basic level that matches ad-exposed smartphone users with in-store sales data. There’s no technology or back-end integration required for marketers.
  • A more involved scenario requires marketers to upload their lists and transaction data, which is then hash-matched on the back end with mobile users. This allows much deeper insight into product sales and other questions, rather than just aggregate sales.

The bottom line is that most search, display and video ads will ultimately show offline visits and sales impact. These metrics will show up in Google AdWords dashboards. Google believes that making offline visits and sales data available will cause marketers to place greater value on “higher funnel” impressions and searches.

Facebook is also very committed to in-store visits and sales measurement.

What everyone should take away from this is that as offline measurement goes mainstream — as it is now with both Facebook and Google — there are major implications for everyone in the market. Proxy metrics are very soon not going to cut it and that will eventually include the SMB market.

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