Why would you advertise online for offline sales?Sharrington
A lot of smaller businesses that have physical stores still rely on old fashioned advertising. They don’t invest much (or nothing at all) in online advertising, but instead spend everything on offline advertising alone. The costs of online advertising can appear to be too high for these businesses and the ROI can be hard to measure for sales that incur in stores. What these businesses don’t realise is that online advertising can lead to in-store purchases and this will soon be measurable too.
Users researching products to purchase will most likely research these products online, instead of visiting all physical stores within traveling distance that stock these products. Having a web presence, even if you don’t actually sell products on the website, will let your users know you’re stocking and selling this product. The product information on your website can be used for comparison shopping. Even your address on your website alone could help a user find your store and your phone number on your website could be used to enquire about a product or service. From a research from Google in 2012, they claim that 51% of users research online and then visit the store to purchase the product they decided to buy
Although Google claims that roughly 95% of retail sales actually take place in physical stores, online activities gets these customers to your store. Having an online presence becomes more and more important. Google says that 32% of users say that location based search ads led these users to visit a store or make a purchase.
For a smaller business it can be almost impossible to rank high in the search engines, especially for competitive markets. Although SEO helps, it will take some time to see your rankings improving and in some niches a result on the first page of Google is just not feasible on small budgets. But, here’s where PPC can help. Advertising on Google will make the first page in the Google search result page instantly available for anyone. This will cost you money but it will drive people to your website, which can then act as a gate way to an in-store visit and purchase. According to this study by Advanced Web Ranking in July 2014, 31.23% of visits go to the first organic result in Google, while only 14.04% go to the second place.
With Google recently getting rid of the different background colour for ads, compared to the white background colour for organic results, it’s even harder for people to make a distinction between paid for ads and organic results.
To prove that PPC ads will result to in-store visits, Google has rolled out a new tool called “store visits” on December 18th, 2014. Unfortunately, this tool is only available in the US for now and is in Beta. This tool will make an estimation of how many people have visited store after seeing one of yours ads in Google. The way Google is doing this is by looking at the location history of smartphone users that have seen your ad.
The store visits will be an easier measurement than using old fashioned methods of just asking your customers in store how they’ve found your store or product. People will most likely remember the last step they’ve made to visit your store, instead of the very first when they started researching the product they were planning to get.
To be able to be eligible to measure store visits you need to have several physical stores in the US; You’ll need to have a Google My Business account that is liked to your AdWords account and have set up locations in this account, and your ad needs to receive thousands of clicks and a lot of store visits. This means that for now, unfortunately only big resellers in the US are able to get store visits data.
For more information about this metric and how to set this up if you’re eligible please check the following link: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6100636