Expert Series: Online-to-Offline Tips

 

Google’s expert series events are meant to equip marketers with advanced product training across highly specialized subjects. This past September, Google hosted an Online-to-Offline seminar to help guide local marketing strategy. We learned a ton! Here’s a summary of their tips and strategies.

Store-Centric Approach

 

If you are looking to reach consumers that are most likely to visit your business, Google recommends taking the store-centric approach. Meant for advertisers that have strictly offline-only objectives, this core strategy places emphasis on maximizing in-store return on investment.

The primary goal here is to drive traffic to physical locations through a series of localized online advertising efforts that showcase your locations across Google. These include local campaigns, local ads, store visit conversion actions, and automated bidding strategies focused on maximizing store visits. All of these local efforts are triggered by user intent, distance to the business, device type, and local search queries. Therefore, they are primed for you to deploy the right message at the right time and drive foot traffic to the location.

Keep in mind that you will need to qualify for store visit conversion tracking, as it is only limited to a select number of advertisers. Contact your account representative to see if they are available in your location.

Some best practices for the store-centric approach include:

  • Promote a minimum of 10 locations per account for at least 30 days in order to provide machine learning-powered local campaigns with as much data as possible.
    • Complete business listings on Google My Business get on average 7x more clicks than empty listings, so be sure to add as much information as possible to accrue even more data.
  • Creative is the most powerful tool to drive performance here. Refresh creative every few weeks promoting new products or features for your store in order to ensure that you are working towards a sales-oriented goal.
  • Since performance will be reported by individual store location, you can compare your performance to other offline media meant to drive the same foot traffic, such as radio, TV, and print advertisements.
    • On average, it takes almost 3x as long for store visits to amass vs. online conversions, so leverage the time lag report when doing so.
Omnichannel Approach

 

If you are looking to maximize your total sales, offline or online, Google recommends taking the omnichannel approach. This core strategy is intended to reach already-connected consumers through offline and online efforts that work in tandem.

Unlike the store-centric approach, this strategy does not favor driving foot traffic over online sales, so you are able to utilize automated bidding strategies for both store visits and online conversions. You can harness the machine learning capabilities of Google’s automated bidding strategies towards the full value of online and offline conversions, maximizing overall conversions.

Some best practices for the omnichannel approach include:

  • Run some of the same local-specific efforts as the store-centric approach, such as Google My Business and location extensions, in order to engage nearby audiences and provide the algorithms with more signals.
  • Give your store visit conversion events a conversion value in order to take advantage of Target ROAS and maximize conversion value strategies.
    • As a good rule of thumb, start by setting your store visit conversion value to the product of your in-store conversion rate and your in-store average order value. Store Visit Conversion Value = In-Store CVR x In-Store AOV
  • Make sure to include Store Visits in all supported bidding strategies by enabling the “Include in Conversions” setting at the conversion tracking level
    • Automated bidding strategies take time to adapt to new campaign-level conversion behavior after conversion settings are changed, so give the algorithm enough time to learn before making additional adjustments.

Whether you are focused solely on driving store traffic or maximizing overall revenue, the path to driving purchases is becoming increasingly complex. Getting started with a strong digital strategy to drive offline actions should be an essential part of any business’s strategy. Take advantage of these tactics to improve your ability to connect with users. Contact us to learn more.