Google, Facebook and other digital platforms offer a variety of ways for retailers to measure how effective ads are at driving consumers into bricks-and-mortar stores.

Monika Doyle, digital media director, Chacka Marketing

Monika Doyle, digital media director, Chacka Marketing

Omnichannel advertisers constantly struggle to find ways to follow their customers throughout the purchase path. For a long time, there were no ways to track online-to-offline efforts and connect the two. Through recent developments and easier solutions to manage the entire breadth of digital programs, advertisers can find opportunities to view and measure which locations and devices drive store visits.

Retail advertisers can leverage the following tools to connect their customers to specific purchases after they move beyond their device, along with a few results we at Chacka Marketing have observed using similar tactics.

Store Visit Conversions

Store visit conversions enable retail advertisers see what online devices and campaigns drove visits to physical stores. Google determines a store visit conversion based on user proximity to a location on Google Maps, as well as the time spent in-store. Advertisers can then focus on the strategy that works best for their search program and put the dollars where it will count the most.

When it comes to conversions, “near me” keywords drive the highest store visit rate.

While advertisers receive data on the amount of people who click on ads and visit the store, Google cannot tie the data back to specific customers who click on the actual ads, making this tracking option completely anonymous and the statistics aggregated.Privacy has become an increasingly important topic and Google has put these safeguards in effect to protect individual data.  Keep in mind, there are requirements to qualify for store visit conversions, like having a Google My Business account linked with an AdWords accounts and having sufficient enough data to attribute traffic. Check with your Google representatives to see the complete list and whether this option makes sense for your program.

From Chacka’s experience, when it comes to conversions, “near me” keywords drive the highest store visit rate. Not surprisingly, mobile phones drove customers in-store at a 26 percent higher rate and a 65 percent cheaper cost-per-store-visit than other devices. Additionally, Shopping campaigns contribute to the largest lift in return on ad spend (ROAS) from store visits and by running omnichannel (online and offline), leading to a 16x return on investment.

Local Inventory Ads on Shopping

Local inventory ads connect shoppers to a plethora of inventory, available in-store or nearby. This is done via local feeds, ensuring product availability is submitted regularly and pricing remains current. In order to qualify, a business must have a brick-and-mortar store location and adhere to the requirementsput forth by Google.


Combining local inventory ads with store visits drove a 94 percent higher store visit rate compared to standard Google shopping ads, according to Chacka research. By linking the two, retail advertisers can ensure that their customers are not just seeing its products, but gauge how inventory ads are increasing foot traffic to the store location.

Facebook Store Visits

The Facebook store visits report estimates the number of visits to brick-and-mortar locations by customers who clicked on or viewed local store ads. Facebook’s solution to measure visits helps to reach people within a set distance of stores. This is achieved with ad formats that include images, videos and carousel. The store visits are recoded in real-time from customers that enable location services on their mobile devices. With so many insights at the touch of our fingertips, advertisers can become savvier in the ways they create high-impact ads. Assuming an average order value and an average conversion rate, Chacka has seen a 106 percent incremental ROAS from this ad format.


Location-Based Mobile Advertising

Location-based mobile display campaigns enable marketers to reach consumers based on where they are and where they have been, and influences where they are likely to go next. This feature is valuable as advertisers can tailor their messaging based on consumer behavior to encourage them to visit a specific store. This can be done directly through the Google Display Network (GDN) or through third-party partners.

While GDN uses Google Maps to determine proximity and time spent in-store, some third-party tools have more advanced geo-targeting capabilities that can more precisely define the boundaries of a location and accurately target inside and around businesses. They can also determine whether someone is in a parking lot or in a store (rather than just 0.03 miles away, for example).

Retail advertisers can get creative with the different targeting tactics, such as targeting customers at competitor stores and leveraging behavioral audiences. Because the user experience on mobile is so diverse between browsers and apps, it can be difficult to rely on simple cookie tracking. Location-based tools rely on device data, so it’s important to understand all different aspects before choosing a company to work with.


In-Store Transaction Attribution

While store visit conversion data is inferred through the average time spent in store, there are other solutions to more accurately track the sales to effectively measure digital impact on in-store transactions. Google’s in-store transaction tool allows marketers to import actual store sales into AdWords via customer match to marry Gmail addresses to cookie data in Google. But this can only be done if physical store locations are able to collect customer information. In addition to Google’s tool, third-party vendors like Bing and Facebook can be leveraged to match all email addresses beyond Gmail.

Google Promoted Pins on Maps or Waze

Reaching consumers using map and direction capabilities is another great way to attract physical traffic. Google promoted pins show a list of businesses that appear on the maps search results when a consumer is looking for a location, like bookstores. These tap-able purple pins expand to show additional business details like contact information, services and the ability to assist the driver with directions to their desired business destination. Promoted Pins raise awareness for local store locations and alert searchers of physical locations when using Google Maps.


With over 50 million users, and actively engaged ones at that, Waze is an excellent alternative and/or addition to Google Maps for getting business details in front of drivers. Like Google pins, the Waze app promoted pins attract drivers to visit stores while giving the option for promotional or seasonal offers. By putting branded messages in front of potential customers as part of their daily driving routines, advertisers can target destinations or routes and hit them with the relevant messaging during key moments of their day.

Store visits are an effective way to bridge the gap between online ads and offline conversions when advertisers have the right tools to track and promote them and attribute the data correctly. These tools and tactics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what omnichannel advertisers can leverage to connect their customers throughout their purchase journey. By testing growth strategies and consistently utilizing different tools in new and unique ways, advertisers can learn how to best engage with potential customers and connect online and offline efforts.

Chacka Marketing is a digital marketing agency, specializing in paid search engine marketing, social media advertising, and direct response consulting services.