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Google Analytics Now Tracks Offline Store Visits

New Store Visits Reports In GA, Closing Online/Offline Loop

Google Analytics’ new Store Visits beta is expanding for more marketers locally.

Store Visits for Google Analytics helps you see how visits to your website influence visits to your physical location, such as a hotel, auto dealership, restaurant, or retail store.

First announced in August 2018, the feature, which is still in beta, is being rolled out for more organisations locally. The new feature could be a game-changer for communicators ultimately tasked with driving footfall or in-store traffic.

The past two decades of internet marketing has seen evaluation centre on impressions, clicks, likes and online conversions. However, for a high volume of businesses this data is interesting but not always viewed as material, especially for senior executives. Whereas, more tangible outcomes might be.

Store visits are estimates based on data from users who have turned on Location History. Only aggregated and anonymised data is reported, and marketers are not able to see any store visits from individual website sessions, ad clicks, viewable impressions, or people.

It’s called protecting people’s privacy, don’t you know…

Google Store Visits For Analytics and Ads

Google first introduced Store Visits for Google Ads in 2015. However, the feature was exclusively available for Google’s larger ad clients.

Thankfully Google unlocked this for all in mid-2018, so Store Visits for Google Ads have been available worldwide since July last year.

Therefore, whether you are a butcher wanting to bring in local business, or Chadstone needing to keep retailers sweet with high volumes of in-centre traffic, it’s a good deal.

Every year it gets simpler to tie online campaigns to offline outcomes.

Google Store Visits Criteria and Set-up

As with many online marketing features nowadays there are criteria to meet and a bit of set-up involved.

Store Visits in Google Analytics provides an estimated count of the number of store visits from users who visit your website and then visit your physical store within 30 days.

Store-location data comes from location extensions that are linked from your Google My Business account to your Google Ads account, and then from your Google Ads account to your Analytics property.

To activate, businesses need to tick the following Google boxes:

  1. Need Analytics, Google Ads, and Google My Business (GMB) accounts
    • Clients not owning their Google Ad accounts could problematic here
    • Quite common locally and something to be avoided and addressed 
  2. Need multiple physical store locations in eligible countries
  3. Need high volumes of store visits data to attribute to website traffic

For most organisations that would want to track campaign performance against physical foot fall, this should be easy criteria to meet. E.g. a local baker, library or JB Hifi.

On the Analytics front there are then a few things which need linking and setting up:

  1. Activated Google signals
    • This is done at the Property level in the Google Analytics admin dashboard
  2. Have your Analytics property linked to at least one Google Ads account that contains location extensions from Google My Business
  3. All Google Ads accounts linked to your Analytics property must have the same location extensions

Store Visits reports are potentially a great Google Analytics feature for many organisations in both the private and public sector. However, the Store Visits naming will likely throw many off the scent.

With Facebook now starting to make decent inroads with its Facebook Analytics and Facebook Attribution, it’s about time Google threw marketers another bone. Lest, Google Analytics one day, heaven forbid, ceases to be the industry standard…

Providing Google criteria is met; reports can be accessed as follows:

The beta is still rolling out, so check it out now.

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