Clicks and Mortar: Google Store Visits Explained

Alex Hogan | September 21st 2017

Clicks and Mortar: Google Store Visits Explained

A report by IMRG found that UK eCommerce sales exceeded £130 billion in 2016, a 15% increase on 2015. According to Google, 90% of these sales happen in store, not online. Due to the complex process of the customer journey, AdWords introduced Google Store Visit Conversions. There have been more than 1 billion store visit conversions recorded, although the feature has not been rolled out to all AdWords accounts. One of our accounts is a high street retailer with a strong online presence which has access to Google Store Visit Conversions, and the case study below is for that client.

What is classed as a Store Visit Conversion?

A conversion is an estimate generated by assessing phone location history to track if you have entered a store after clicking on either a shopping or search ad. A custom algorithm extrapolates the data to account for non-signed-in users who exhibit the same behaviour and AdWords will only report on the data if it reaches a strict confidence level.

Case Study: Google Store Visit Conversions

How have we used Google Store Visits to increase footfall?


When we began tracking, footfall conversions were around 0.5–1%. However, after targeting by location, we observed that 3–5% of clicks were driving a store visit conversion.

The first thing we did to increase this the percentage of store visits was branded geo-targeted ads. From assessing top performing brick and mortar stores we created several ads with tailored location-based ad copy, i.e., ad copy that specifically mentions location and products, as that is what shoppers intending to visit a store tend to search for. Following this we created a series of sitelink and callout extensions that were relative to each store and geotargeted them to the desired location.

The initial result of this was a high store visit conversion rate from a click – around 25% – however the online revenue driven from these ads was minimal, showing a clear indicator of online searchers becoming offline converters.

Google Shopping

After experimenting with search ads, we began to look into shopping ads as a store visit driver for products with poor visibility.

Knowing what products and what product categories were being pushed at an offline business level, we segmented out campaigns into categories or individual product lines and increased CPCs aggressively to increase overall search impression share. The result of this was an uplift in product visibility on PLA as well as the visibility campaigns achieving strong store visit conversion metrics on a variety of campaigns.


After both strategies were fully implemented into the overall structure it was simply a case of scaling up spend. The higher the spend, the larger the portion of in-store shoppers we are seeing. With a clever use of highly segmented campaigns and consistent conversation with offline channels we can now increase store conversions using product category and geotargeted branded campaigns.