With the huge increase of mobile searches over the last few years, marketers are finding a number of new ways to drive offline conversions through online advertising. Advertisers can now switch tactics from online acquisition to driving consumers to physical stores depending on their location. In this post I’ll outline how advertisers can drive offline retail conversions by targeting searchers on the go.
Using location extensions advertisers can dynamically attach their business address to their ads. This will allow users on the go to know how far away they are from one of your stores and provide information on how to get there. This can lead to a significant increase in store visits from searchers who are close by. By using location extensions in conjunction with location bid modifiers advertisers can make sure they are appearing in top positions and displaying information on how searchers can easily find their nearest store.
By using location bid modifiers retail advertisers can appear in the top search positions when searches are close by to one of their stores. Positive bid modifiers can be setup to target a radius around their stores using location extension addresses. These bid modifiers can be staggered so the closer a searcher is to one of your stores, the higher the bid modifier will be. Advertisers will gain greater exposure and location extensions will be more likely to be shown when an ad is in a higher position.
Local inventory ads have a similar format to product listing ads (PLAs) but show users which products are available at a nearby physical location.
Mobile devices are limited to show either online PLAs or local inventory ads. If an advertiser wants to drive offline retail conversions through online advertising they can show searchers local inventory ads anytime they perform a relevant search near one of their stores.
If advertisers are worried how this will effect online conversions, another option is to use Multichannel Product Listing Ads. These ads give users the option to buy online or view product availability at a nearby location. Advertisers can also include a “Buy Online” link at their local storefront, giving shoppers the option to purchase a product from their website if it’s also available on their site.
The Store Visits metric in AdWords estimates the uplift paid search has on visits to a retailer’s store. This metric is calculated based on aggregated, anonymised data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History. The store visits metric allows you to estimate the in-store revenue that paid search drives. This can be done with a simple calculation.
Paid Search Store Revenue
= Paid Search Clicks X Shop Visit Rate X Shop Conv. Rate X Shop Average Conv. Value
If you want a more complete end-to-end revenue tracking system you can use the ability to track unique IDs from online to offline. One way this tracking is currently being implemented for retail is by connecting the online and offline worlds to Unique IDs. This can be done through a website customer login (online) and a customer loyalty card (offline). If advertisers use a platform that allows revenue integrations, offline transactions can be mapped against their keywords.
Digital advertising can have a significant impact on offline retail conversions. Using the aforementioned tactics, digital advertisers can switch from driving online transactions to driving footfall to their physical stores depending on a searchers location. Advertisers can also implement measurement solutions to quantify and optimise offline performance from their online advertising.
Consumer behavior tends to be highly volatile, so the ability to quickly recognize shifts and adjust ad campaigns is highly valuable. Retailers with this advantage can act nimbly and better reach their advertising goals.
The following best practices can help retailers make the most of their product advertising efforts:
Product ads are an indispensable tool for retailers. Understanding the differences between the product ad offerings available and how to make them work best for each retailer’s unique needs is the key to success.
If you’d like to read more about each of these 7 best practices you can view the full white paper here.
In October of 2012, Google successfully transitioned Google Product Search in the US to a commercial model built on Product Listing Ads (PLA). Though this enhanced shopping experience was faced with both criticism and praise when it was announced in May 2012, advertisers have seen PLA campaigns perform with a great deal of success. In fact, by the end of September 2012, over 100,000 retailers had inventory in Google’s new shopping model just in time for the holiday season.
One month ahead of the transition, the impression share of PLAs to standard text ads was 3.9% to 96% respectively. By the end of December, PLAs were receiving 60% more (6.1%) of the total impressions. This rapid growth in impressions share was not only due to more online retailers deploying PLA campaigns, but also the increase in product related searches during the holiday season.
However, the steady increase in click share from 2.1% in January 2012 to 6.6% (210% growth) in December indicates that shoppers are finding these PLAs, rather than standard text ads, to be more relevant to their search queries regardless of seasonality. The enhanced shopping experience and increase in relevancy is further supported by the gradual increase in click-through rate (CTR) from January 2012 through December. As seasonality became more of a factor in Q4, CTR for PLAs surpassed that of standard text ads in November and December.
This trend has far reaching implications as standard text ads cost more per click than PLAs during Q4 2012. For retailers, this means that PLAs are not only cheaper, but they perform far better than standard text ads during the busiest shopping season of the year. Of course, with the increase in PLA adoption by online marketers and increase in clicks by shoppers during the holiday season, the share of spend by PLA campaigns jumped from 0.36% in October to 2.5% (600% growth) in December. In fact, in Q4 alone many retailers allocated as much as 30% of their total spend on Google towards PLAs. This speaks volume to the incremental growth in spend on Google as a result of the Product Search transition. In 2013, online retailers will undoubtedly allocate additional budget towards PLAs, continuing to build on the momentum gained in 2012.
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