What Is Google Ads Store Visits Tracking – How It Affects Singapore Businesses?

What Is Google Ads Store Visits Tracking - How It Affects Singapore Businesses_

It’s possible to optimize your Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) for offline conversions, where the bulk of your sales are happening in your Singapore brick-and-motor store or shop.

Confirming this is a recent Google report that seemed to suggest that upward of 95% of all retail sales happen offline, in a physical store as opposed to online shopping.

People use online platforms to research the products and services they wish to buy, and after deciding on the brand and model to go with, they’ll hit a local store near them to make a purchase.

But has anyone ever taken the time to understand how online ads impact offline sales? How are you even able to optimize the ads and ramp up the number of sales you make offline?

Simple, trust Google to show you the way.

Not long ago, Google stepped up their game and introduced one of the most advanced metric systems under its name – and that is the In-store visits metrics.

Although the consumer purchase journey has proven to be a super-complex one, Google managed to find a way to keep track of in-store foot traffic.

That’s a detailed record of the amount of traffic that businesses drive to their physical stores after running PPC ads.

The project has been a huge success so far, and as time goes on, we can only hope for it to get even better.


Store visits are a special conversion type of Google Ads.

It’s designed to update you on the number of clicks people made on a paid search you’re running and then proceeded to your physical store to complete a transaction.

Targeted at retailers and event locations that want to connect user behaviour to their PPC ad program, AdWords will essentially be collecting data on the number of people that clicked through your ads and thereafter made an effort to come to your online store to make a purchase.

Through the metric, you can tell which ad campaigns, devices, and keywords managed to direct the highest number of customers to your store.

That way, you can know what to adjust and direct the bulk of your marketing effort to in a bid to increase your Return on Investments.

The metric can’t tell if the shop visitor went through with the purchase, only that they visited it after clicking on your PPC ad.

Google’s main goal is to supply you with the data so you can find out if the ad you ran is working. In addition, more data will be provided focusing on the nature of that particular click so you can optimize the ad for even better results in the future.

As it stands, Google has been able to record more than 7 billion physical store visits from almost every imaginable corner of the earth.

For privacy reasons, the data thrives on anonymity, by aggregating both current and past data from the people who’ve turned their location history on.

This means, that the conversion doesn’t zone into an individual but on their navigation history alone.


How Accurate is the Metric

The system has advanced to an extent that it can tell what qualifies as a real visit.

Google had to take into account some of the issues that might turn out to be obstacles along the way.

Imagine a scenario where a prospect passes near a store. You’ll be expecting the system to be ineffective enough to count it as a real visit, but it isn’t.

The system can tell the difference between a 20-minute visit and a 1-minute visit to understand that the customer didn’t have enough time to go through with a purchase.

There’s even the issue of potential customers spending too much time at a store.

So just in case, the system records a person to have spent more than the required amount of time at a local store, then it won’t be counting it as the store’s visitor.


How Google Measures the In-store Visits

Google Maps stores near-accurate coordinates of millions of businesses from all around the world.

So basically, AdWords work alongside Google maps to match the location of these businesses to the millions of users that have their locations history turned on.

To enable this, Google has adopted a hybrid approach, which boasts loads of signals that will be taking accurate measurements of the visits. These signals include:

  1. Google map and Google earth
  2. Coordinates mapping and the borders of millions of physical stores from all around the world.
  3. GPS location signals
  4. Visitors’ behaviour
  5. The Wi-Fi strength in the store
  6. An upward of 1 million opted-in users provide their on-ground navigation history, thus validating data accuracy together with informing the modelling.

To make sure the data they supply is accurate, Google has so far managed to survey over 5 million people in a bid to find out if they visited the store as the system indicates.

With the information they get, they have managed to update their algorithms to an extent that it’s now reported to be 99% accurate.


The Store Visit Conversions

The store visit conversions aren’t exactly some sort of crispy analytics, but pure estimates.

That’s because Google isn’t yet able to collect data on the number of visitors that got to purchase from the stores they visited.

In other words, Google can only examine when an ad gets clicked and if the users make any attempt to visit the store afterwards.

The metric also records the device from which the ad was clicked – phone, tablet or desktop.

The information you get regarding this is meant to help you make necessary adjustments to your campaign for an improved ROI.

The metric is also designed to display the number of clicks that ended up with the underlying user visiting the store.

It can also tell how far a particular click is away from the store – that’s through the proximity data provided.

You’ll also be supplied with processable data regarding which device, keyword, or campaign drove the highest number of visitors to your physical store or shop.

You can thereafter use the information to optimize your campaign for an even better ROI.

Google has gone the extra mile to ensure users’ information stays private and protected.

This is to say, the in-store conversion data will never contain any personal information or a data point that might be tied down to an individual.

Location History

The metric can only track users whose location history has been turned on.

It’s to be however noted that the location history isn’t just about setting yourself up to be tracked by the metric system.

You’re likely to realize a series of other benefits cutting across Google products and services including recommendations based on some of the places you’ve visited, personalized maps, real-time traffic, help to find your phone, useful ads, and so much more.

Meaning users have more reasons than they need to turn on the feature.

For what’s worth, location history is simply a Google-level account setting that’s focused on keeping track of all the places you go with your mobile device. But for the feature to work, you have to make sure that:

  1. You’re signed into a Google account
  2. You’ve turned on location history in the device you’re using
  3. You’ve turned on location reporting on the device you’re using

Worth mentioning is that the location history is always turned off when you sign in to your Google account and that it can only be turned on when you choose to opt in.

You’re also allowed to turn it off any time by going through your account’s Activity Controls. It’s even possible to pause it all up or control what gets to be saved in the location history.

For instance, you can view all the places you’ve visited in the Google Maps Timeline, and even edit and delete some of the information on the timeline if you find it fit.

Also worth noting is that when other settings such as the Web and App Activity are turned on and you decide to turn it off, pause or delete the data in your location history, your location data may still be available with the other Google accounts.

Integrating PPC, SEO, And User Experience To Master Achieving Digital Marketing Success

Which is to say, your location data may still be saved as part of the search and map activities every time you’ve turned on your Web & App Activity setting on your mobile device.


What’s New with the Feature?

During the latest Performance Summit, Google was quick to announce that they’ve made in-store visits available to manufacturers, particularly the auto manufacturer that wish to track the number of visitors that make it to their dealerships.

They also walked their audience through one of their case studies involving the UK Nisan and how they’ve been using the AdWords feature to track their in-store visits and conversion based on keywords and the type of campaigns people have been using to drive potential customers to their dealerships.

By making necessary adjustments based on the conversion data being supplied through the metric, the company was able to increase their return on investment up to 25 times. They were also able to use the data to map the journey of their buyers.

Through this, they were able to find out that about 6 per cent of all the ad clicks they were able to receive on phone resulted in a visit to one of their dealerships.

They considered this a huge success on their part, considering one out of every two visits they received to the dealership resulted in a sale.


Could Google be Using Beacon to Improve the Feature?

Not long ago, Google mentioned that they will be experimenting with Beacon Technology to make necessary adjustments to their algorithm and improve it for the better.

They were to explore how to incorporate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons for their in-store visits and analytics.

As a matter of fact – at the time of making the announcement, they were already underway in a BLE beacon project that was focusing on helping business people operating at smaller locations ensure they were providing and getting the most accurate and precise location data with the least amount of strain on their part.


How to Gain Access to Store Visit Conversions

As it stands, Store visits conversion is now available to upward of 1, 000 advertisers from 11 different countries, with Google hinting at making it available to even more advertisers shortly.

All you have to do to start tracking your store visits as of now is to contact your account manager.

It’s to be however noted that NOT every business out there qualifies to track their store visits.

A few requirements do apply, and that include:

  1. Your business must be having multiple physical locations in one of the countries qualified by Google.
  2. Your ads must be receiving thousands of clicks and an impressive count of store visits every month for you to qualify for the metric.
  3. You must have linked your Google Ads account to your Google My Business account.
  4. You must have enabled location extensions.

Where to Find the Conversions

You can find the Store Visit conversions feature in the ‘All Conversions’ column of your Google AdWords campaign report.

If you can’t find it in the column section, then it’s upon you to add it to the report.

The store visits can also be found at the ad group, the campaign, and the keyword level, with an option to segment it based on devices.


10 Major Google Ads Updates That You Need to Know

Google Ads campaigns are one of the things you should invest more in to get more sales and increase your clientele base.

Google regularly updates its algorithm and how it displays ads to users.

As a digital marketer, you should pay close attention to these updates to continue profiting from your Google Ads campaign.

Here are 10 Google Ads updates you should know and keep in mind when creating an Ad campaign.

  • Broad Match and Phrase Match Modifiers

After the Google Core Web Vitals algorithm took effect, it was clear that the search engine was keen on providing the best user experience to users.

One of the ways it achieves this goal is by ranking websites based on the quality of user experience they offer visitors.

A few months later, the Google team announced plans to make it easier for marketers to connect with the right customers on search.

Google updated its broad match and phrase match modifier keyword types.

What is a broad match modifier?

This modifier ensures that ads associated with a particular keyword are displayed in the search results if the search query contains the exact or similar variant of the target keyword. These keywords have a “+” mark that shows they should be part of the search query to trigger ad display.

What is a phrase match modifier?

Commonly abbreviated as PMM, phrase match modifier makes it possible for digital marketers to link a set of words together within a keyword they are bidding on or targeting.

It’s possible to have +mix + modified + broad +match with both +phrase and broad match.

In the press release, the search engine stated that the updates would have no impact on exact match, negative keyword match, and broad match types.

However, they recommended using only phrases, broad matches, and exact matches when adding new keywords to the ad campaign.

  • Get Ready for Privacy-Minded Updates

Privacy has been a major concern for marketers and consumers in the last five years.

The debate on where to draw the line has been raging online for years, and search engines have keenly followed the conversation.

New legislation such as Banning Surveillance Ads Act prohibits platforms such as Facebook, Google Double Click, and data brokers from targeting customers with ads.

The only exception is broad location targeting specific regions such as a municipality.

The search engines and smartphone developers have introduced new requirements to comply with this act.

Google Topic’s API and Apple’s recent iOS update are meant to replace third-party cookies.

Moving forward, you need to learn ways to stop using third-party tracking cookies and instead use opt-in (consented) and first-party data to get accurate insights into your target customers.

Also, Google announced plans to shut down Universal Analytics in July 2023 mainly due to its ineffectiveness in providing accurate audience insights across platforms.

Universal Analytics 360 will be used to process data between July 2023 and October 2023.

  • Google Trends

The digital landscape is dynamic, and if you fail to match the internet space, your Google ads campaign will take a beating.

Google Trends is a new feature designed to help marketers identify topics people are searching for online or talking about.

Restructuring your ad campaign and content to match these trends will give you a higher cutting edge in the market.

Though short-lived, riding trends will increase your brand exposure.

Modify your social media or email marketing efforts to resonate with the target customers’ expectations.

For example, if you realise most of them are searching for businesses in your niche that offer home delivery services, consider starting to offer the service or something related, such as curbside pickup.

  • Use of Search Ads to Generate More Sales

Mobile shopping or m-commerce is now a trend that brands cannot afford to ignore.

Remember the era when websites were static? You couldn’t access some websites on a smartphone.

Google and other search engines noticed the shift in using smartphones to browse the web and introduced the famous Mobile-First algorithm update.

This update triggered web admins to create mobile-friendly, responsive websites.

The same revolution is in the offing, as evident from the ever-increasing number of customers who prefer placing orders using smartphones or mobile shopping apps instead of visiting the desktop website.

Google is the first search engine to adapt to this paradigm shift. It now allows online businesses to capture qualified leads through search ads.

Instead of redirecting prospects to a landing page; you can now serve them with a lead form immediately when they click on your ad headline.

How To Avoid Costly Google Ads Mistakes In SEM Campaign

To take full advantage of this feature, you must first change your campaign settings to activate it.

The potential customer can either visit your website or return to SERPs after filling and submitting the lead form.

Either way, you win because even if they decide to go back to SERPs, you can use the personal details submitted via the form, such as email address, to target them with marketing emails.

  • Smart-Bidding Process

Google recently introduced smart bidding, an advanced process to make it easier for marketers to manage ad campaigns.

Now, you can specify your Google Ads budget, and then the algorithm will work its magic to help you get maximum ROI from it.

The main goal is to increase the ROI of campaigns without costing brands and marketers thousands of dollars.

Unlike before, Google algorithm bots are extremely effective in discovering untapped opportunities or low-hanging fruits that can benefit your business.

This new advanced smart-bidding process also encompasses;

    • Top signals for target ROAs and maximum conversions
    • Display of new opportunities on the recommendations page
    • Manager account level seasonality adjustments
    • Target impression share simulators

Concisely, smart bidding automates most processes, but that doesn’t mean you should leave everything to the algorithm.

A set and forget it mindset is bad for business.

To get maximum ROI from a paid search campaign, you must consistently analyse data and test and optimise the campaign.

  • Enhanced Holiday Updates

Holidays are perfect for targeting customers with ads about seasonal products.

Last holiday season, hundreds of businesses from across the globe made millions of dollars in sales by structuring campaigns per the new e-commerce updates.

One of the main updates is Google highlighting the return policies and order fulfilment options on the SERPs.

Availing this information makes it easier for customers to make buying decisions. They know what to expect from a brand before visiting the website or entering the sales funnel.

You can also leverage the free listing of products that can be synchronised with different e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce, Shopify, and GoDaddy store without leaving your Google ads account.

Today, brands use YouTube videos as virtual storefronts to establish a direct connection with local customers.

Follow suit to get ahead of the curve, and while at it, make sure that your Google Business Profile for more visibility on search results pages.

  • Google Ads App Updates

We highly recommend downloading the Google Ads App if you are preparing to run an ad campaign on Google for the first time.

The application is available for smartphones on Android or iOS operating systems.

Here are the four key updates on the Google Ads app:

    • Ability to create and launch a campaign in-app: You can now create a brand new ad campaign using the app by tapping the “+” button at the bottom right side of the interface. Before the campaign goes live, follow the steps to customise the campaign settings, such as location and ad type. In addition, you will also be able to monitor and manage the campaign from the app.
    • Real-time Trends Discovery: We mentioned the need to ride on Google trends. Google Ads app has an advanced search feature that you can use to get wind of all trends in the different countries or regions that you service. The report is generated and updated in real-time to ensure that you never make campaign adjustments based on “stale” data. Use specific industry terms and common queries to find trends that match your business.
    • Detailed campaign performance insights: You need to be constantly aware of how the different ads perform to avoid spending money on non-performing ads. Unlike before, the Google Ads app now offers more detailed performance insights and explanations for each metric. The information will help you tweak the campaign accordingly.
    • Dark mode: This mode offers a low-light visual experience that is more comfortable at night. Some people with visual impairment find it very useful.

Be sure to install new updates soon after they are made available from Google to avoid missing out on future features.

Google Ads app is 100% secure, so don’t fret about your personal and campaign data getting leaked to hackers.

  • Destination Requirement Updates

A few months ago, hundreds of advertisers posted online disgruntled after receiving ad disapproval notifications from Google.

This action resulted from changes in the policy language and notifications.

Here are the three common disapproval messages sent to advertisers and their respective meanings.

    • Destination not accessible: It means that the addresses specified for the target audience cannot be reached due to their geo-location and other limitations.
    • Insufficient original content: There isn’t sufficient information about the website. It was mostly sent to advertisers whose sites had either “under construction” or “coming soon” tag.
    • Destination not working: This message resulted from the site address returning an error.
  • New Ways of Managing and Optimising Conversions

On November 1st, 2021, Google introduced several new ways of managing and optimising Google ad campaign conversions.

You can now match your campaign with conversion goals that matter the most to your business.

Every campaign should have a specific goal and be optimized using features such as smart bidding.

Continuously monitoring the performance will enable you to visualize your journey towards the goals. It will also help you make plans for the future to ensure you are not caught unaware.

Here is an overview of two features you should use to manage and optimise your Google ad campaign conversions.

Conversion value: This is a metric that shows the average value of each conversion.

Changes in the value can result from conversion tag errors, challenges with transaction-specific conversion values, and shifts in conversion value delay.

Tag Assistant: Tag assistant is a tool meant to enable you to confirm that all your conversion tags are properly set up and functional.

It will give you information on unverified conversion actions, inactive conversion tags, and other pending conversions.

  • Detailed Budget Reports

When doing digital marketing, it’s imperative to budget accordingly and adjust the campaign based on the results to ensure you get the utmost ROI.

Google ads now offer detailed and timely budget reports to prevent you from spending more than you can afford.

They include;

    • Daily expense: This shows the amount of money spent on daily ads. Note the amount can be double the average daily budget on days when the ads get a conversion or click.
    • Monthly spending limit: This shows the maximum amount of money you intend to spend on the ads per month. It is calculated based on the average daily budget and the total number of days a month.
    • Monthly spending forecast: It highlights changes in spending on different days to help you estimate your monthly spending and plan for the next budget.

The above 10 Google Ads updates will come in handy to help you get maximum returns from your campaigns.

Sometimes, it may not be easy to comprehend all the metrics listed in the report. Avoid guesswork by contacting our search engine marketing experts for professional guidance.

The team will carefully analyse your campaign and propose recommendations to help you get better results.

We also offer other digital marketing services, such as social media and email marketing.

Every project is assigned to a team of experts with the necessary skills and expertise.

Call us today at +65 6789 9852 to book a consultation session.


Let’s wrap it up

From the post, it’s pretty clear that Store Visit Conversion offers one of the most valuable metrics for local businesses.

The metric is also based on highly accurate, anonymized data that will be working to blur the line between your digital activities and your in-person experiences.

For more information regarding Google Store Visits Conversions or general help in managing your Google Ads Campaign, you’re advised to consider contacting MediaOne today with your query and they’ll be glad to accord you with the necessary help.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




Most viewed Articles

How to Haggle for a Good Bargain

How to Haggle for a Good Bargain – Mastering the Art of Happy Haggling! Hello there, savvy shoppers! Are you ready to unlock the secrets

Other Similar Articles