In-Store Visits Now in AdWords’ Estimated Conversions

When Google announced cross-device conversions in October 2013, they shared this image which hinted at adding phone calls and in-store visits to their estimated total conversions equation.

adwords estimates conversions

Calls from desktops and tablets were added shortly after, and in December 2014, so were store visits. This was exciting news for those that have long wondered if PPC ads influence users to visit a store instead of converting online. This is useful for those dealing with retail, auto dealerships, or hotels. And although 23% of users say location-based ads led them to a store, now we’re a step closer to actually seeing that data. Especially since 95% of sales still occur in store according to eMarketer, I’d want to receive some credit.

What are Estimated Conversions?

Google has a lot of data. (I think that’s an understatement.) With that data, comes great power. They can estimate how many conversions you may be receiving from channels that advertisers are unable to track via conversion codes. This currently includes:

  • Conversions across devices
  • Conversions across browsers
  • Phone calls generated from desktops or tablets
  • Store visits

Google collects data from users that are logged into their products (Gmail, etc.) and then projects what would have happened if all users were logged in. For store visits, they will track users who have turned on their Location Settings. Don’t worry though, it’s all anonymous. No one will know about your big Saturday of Home Depot and maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond (if you had enough time).

It’s important to note that Google will only show this information if they are 95% confident it is accurate. (Seer was told this percentage for cross-device conversions from our AdWords reps – unsure if it holds true for all.) You may notice that the Estimated Conversion column has the same totals as your Conversions column. This can be caused by two reasons:

  1. Google doesn’t have enough data to accurately estimate
  2. You just don’t have any conversions coming through those channels

How do in-store visits help me?

My last post on Acquisio discussed focusing on profits rather than efficiency. If you’re an advertiser with a local presence, this can be tremendously beneficial in that equation. When calculating ROI, you should be considering all areas that PPC may impact, not just the direct sale or last-click attribution. With this enabled, you can now gain a better understanding of the in-store portion in the image below.

adwords estimated conversions

You won’t be able to see actual revenue stemming from these visits (yet), but if you already know the value of your in-store customers, you can easily get to one.

When can I see in-store visits as an estimated conversion?

Before you get too excited, there are some requirements you must meet before Google will roll this out to your account. You must:

  • Have a Google My Business account linked to your AdWords account
  • Set up location extensions in your Google My Business account
  • Have multiple physical store locations in the US
  • Receive a large number of both ad clicks and store visits

I’d hope you already have the first two covered if you’re dealing with store locations. Otherwise, stop reading and get a move on it!

The last two are unclear and subjective. We have a few clients that meet the first three criteria and haven’t seen this available yet so still not sure what a “large number” actually is…but we know what it’s not. Once it does become available, you will be able to see these estimated conversions at the campaign level with the ability to segment by device.

What’s next?

With the release of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them eventually tie in-store purchase as speculated by a few sources back in April 2014. I’m not sure about you, but that has me excited as we’re one step closer to improved attribution.



Francis Shovlin has been in the search industry since 2007, most of that time has been spent at Seer Interactive located in Philadelphia and San Diego, where he helps companies achieve their business goals. You can follow his unpredictable thoughts on life, music, beer and PPC on Twitter: @fmshovlin

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