Store Visits are a conversion type in AdWords. It tells you when someone has clicked on a paid search ad, and then crossed a threshold into your location. It’s great for retailers and for event locations as it directly connects search behavior to your ad programs. Store Visits are based on aggregated, anonymized statistics. AdWords uses current data and past data on the number of people who click your ads and later visit your store.

What do you need?

Google has certain requirements for using this conversion. These change regularly so it’s worth keeping an eye on if your business is growing (and we hope it is!).

  1. 30+ locations in your Google My Business account. This is a stretch for some, but if you run a franchise, this is very doable.
  2. Over 100,000 search clicks over a 1-3 month period. If this is a goal rather than a norm, think about making it a target for your next big promo.

AdWords needs to be linked to your Google My Business account to manage your location extensions, so as long as you reach the volume requirements, you’re ready to go!

What will Google tell you?

Google will report on visits to a location if someone clicks on one of your ads and then crosses a threshold (goes inside) within a 30 day period. For privacy reasons, AdWords will not supply data about the visitor, or the particular location visited if more than one location is in a campaign. We recommend looking at Store Visit trends and comparing that with your sales data to get a better understanding of how ad clicks help drive in-store behaviour.

How do you use this conversion?

This conversion type will help you understand when people choose to visit your location after clicking on an ad. These conversions could tell you about events, real estate presentation centers, new store openings, and shopping behaviour.

How does Google know all this?

Google has done a lot of work to understand geography, and in-store layouts. Google Maps teams have laid a strong groundwork for understanding where stores are, how walkable the location is and the interior layout of the store. They can connect Wi-Fi, cell towers and GPS location signals to their maps to understand a lot already about which stores receive visits. Google also uses an on-going panel to confirm data, so they can actually update their data with discrepancies regularly.

About timing: Google knows the difference between a 1 minute visit and a thirty-minute visit, along with employees who would spend a long time in a location (they aren’t counted, don’t worry). Finally, users: Google store visits use location history enabled on phones to add to their dataset. All of these different data points – location history, Wi-Fi, cell tower data, map data, GPS and panels to create a statistically significant model of people who interact with ads and then visit a location.

What if my numbers are low?

Sometimes Store Visits conversions will show small numbers, even 1 or 0. This can happen if you over-segment your data, such as filtering by device, or by a small area. It’s good to keep in mind that that number is an average of 1, rather than a direct line of only 1 person clicking and then going to a location.

Store visits are most accurate when numbers are high. That means a result of 100 or higher will more accurately reflect campaign performance.

Best practices?

Segment your ad groups to cover different products and observe which ones drive Store Visit and offline sales, then budget those accordingly. Next, look at location and mobile bid adjustments to bid more aggressively on a radius around your front door. Finally, use your Days to Conversion segment to understand how soon after a click someone visits your store.

In conclusion

Store Visits are an important metric for local businesses. It is based on highly accurate, anonymized data and it gives us a way of connecting your digital activities to your in-person experience.