In 2015, Google released a new metric for AdWords that allowed people to use store visits to calculate their estimated total conversions. They did this because they claimed that 95% of commerce takes place in a physical store.
This is a new advancement in analytics and it demonstrates how easy it is to track consumer behavior. But it requires you to go further than that. You have to consider how you are going to get people to do what you want.
So how are you going to use these new metrics to influence your strategy?
How the Metric Works
Take note that Google can only measure store visits based on estimates. It can’t take into account things like people going into a physical store and then leaving without buying anything. The way it measures this metric is actually remarkably simple.
First of all, it uses search history. Most mobile searches are made with the intention of finding a local business. Once someone searches for this, Google has one of two pieces of necessary data. Next it uses GPS data through Google Maps, if enabled, to see whether that person has visited the store or not.
Optimize for Store Visits
This can only work if Google has the right data, though. From a consumer standpoint, you have no control over this so it’s not something you need to think about. On the other hand, this reinforces the importance of local SEO and optimizing for it.
For a start, you must make sure that your business’s information is accurate on all directories. The address must be correct and you should post your marker on the map in the right place. Google needs this in order to match up your business’s location with the map.
What Can You Use This for?
So now you have optimized for store visits, you need to consider how you are going to use the information available. There are many ways in which this data can be used, but it may not be in the way you think.
First of all, it will help you to understand how well you are doing in the local SEO rankings. This latest addition to Google AdWords is all about how well you are optimized locally. Someone with a high number of estimated store visits already knows that people are searching for them locally.
A low number indicates that they are either not optimized for local SEO or they are not attracting enough people via their current local SEO strategy.
While these numbers are useful for businesses, privacy concerns are rampant. People rightly feel slightly unnerved about the fact that Google is estimating what they are going to do based on their web activity. The good news is that you can reassure your visitors because the data isn’t actually based on any private information.
Instead, it’s based on anonymous numbers that can’t be traced back to any one individual, even if a hacker managed to obtain this data. There’s no way of identifying this data with any specific individual.
Not everyone can take advantage of these new capabilities. There are qualification requirements to take into account. These include:
- Setup a Google My Business account and link it with your AdWords account.
- Make sure that location extensions are installed and enabled on your account.
- You should have multiple store locations. You can get around this by using your physical store and a home office.
- Receive a suitable number of ad clicks and store visits. Google keeps this number secret, but the bar isn’t especially high.
In order to actually launch the application process, you have to submit your application manually. Get in touch with an account rep from Google and see if you qualify. Most of these decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.
Will this Change the Playing Field?
In some ways it will change the playing field and in some ways it won’t. Online businesses and startups can’t use this metric so it won’t mean anything to them. On the other hand, it does indicate a new generation of analytics to take advantage of.
The changes made by Google show that you have more capabilities than ever before for tracking and predicting consumer behavior. With the growth of predictive analytics, businesses are increasingly making decisions based on what may happen rather than what has already happened.
As technology grows, this will only become more powerful in time. So how do you think store conversions will alter how businesses make decisions?
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