Google is going all-in on location. From search (and now display ads) to store, Google is finding more ways to close the loop.
The reason: When store visits and offline impact are captured and factored back into return on ad spend, the value of that spend goes way up — from 2X to well over 10X, according to Google data. The company has been testing and refining store visits measurement for the past two years.
At its “GPS” ads conference in San Francisco earlier this summer, Google announced a dramatic expansion of store visits. It also trumpeted the notion that Google was now the “largest omnichannel measurement company in the world,” having tracked over one billion store visits globally over the past two years.
Using a case study with Home Depot, earlier today Google introduced location extensions and store visits measurement for the Google Display Network:
The ads that show your business address, Google Maps directions and photos. It’s a high-impact, immediate way to increase foot traffic to your store. For The Home Depot, location extensions for display ads reached consumers actively browsing their phones near the brand’s most popular stores, delivering an 8X in-store ROI.
Google says that it can now deliver 99 percent accuracy at “200 million stores globally.” The company uses a range of technologies and methodologies to do so. Between Android and Google Maps and a sophisticated place-mapping approach that Google calls “semantic location,” it can accurately understand where devices are in the real world at any given time. It then maps ad exposures to store visits.
The company also today announced cross-device re-targeting for the Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager to reach people across platforms and apps. To do so, it must identify and match users on PCs and mobile devices, which is now widely being done by others.
Both announcements are significant for what should be obvious reasons. It should also be clear that the measure of campaign effectiveness — except for pure e-commerce marketers — is no longer about impressions, clicks or even “engagement.” We’re now in a world where digital ad spending will routinely be evaluated (and optimized) on the basis of online-to-offline impact.