Local Store Visits Campaign Best Practices on Google (Search & Display)

Store visits campaigns and promotions could be a powerful tool to generate sales and revenue at your brick and mortar store through online ads. If researched and executed right, local store visits campaigns can bring in more ROAS than the online ads for products which are costly such as furniture, bicycle, home decors, etc. Here are some best practices in executing the local store visits campaign successfully.

Eligibility

It’s nice and better to run the store visits campaign when you are eligible for store visits conversion tracking. Contact your Google account representative and see if you’re eligible for store visits conversion tracking in Google Ads. And if store visit conversions aren’t yet available in your location, here are some tips from Google on how to do it.

Understanding Micro-Moments & Intent

Intent and Micro-moments are two major factors that are symbiotic to each other. Intents of a user are different in different micro-moments. As per research, there are four big moments for retailers of shoppers

  • I want to know – Research
  • I want to go – Consideration
  • I want to do – Consideration
  • I want to buy – Conversion

These moments are big opportunities for retailers; 82% of smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store, and one in three has purchased from a company or brand other than the one he or she intended to because of information received in a micro-moment. So, intent-based micro-moments are really important. So, winning the intent of a purchaser is very important.

Winning the Intent

Your advertising has to become moment-ready which should also remove the friction for your customers in order to fulfill their needs anytime and anywhere. So how can you do that? Here are some tips on winning your shoppers’ micro-moments:

  • Provide a fluid and engaging experience online and in-store. There should not be any discrepancy what was said in the ad copies and what’s available in the store.
  • Take advantage of the fact that people are often searching on mobile before they come into a store.
  • Your Local Store Visit campaign Ad can have up to five headlines and descriptions. Use these spaces for providing a great user experience to your prospective buyers. Some of the ideas to attract buyers will be
    • Reserve online and Pick up In-Store
    • Reserve online and avoid the queue
    • Book an appointment In-Store to learn more about the product/ service
    • Five minutes packing ready
  • Save the product in-Store and get reminded later
  • X % discount of particular categories such as dinner sets before thanksgiving day
  • Summer is here, time for barbecue

Such headlines and descriptions open the door for offline users to make them step into your store. It should also give them a reason to make a purchase. Once you have addressed the intent, it’s time to address the micro-moments

Near me Micro-Moments

We want to do things right and right away. Instead of a few moments of truth, it’s a series of “micro-moments” when we turn to mobile to act on a need. In recent times, words like “near me,” “closest,” and “nearby” have become increasingly common. In fact, 50% of consumers who conduct a local search on their smartphone visit a store within a day, and 18% of those searches lead to a purchase within a day. If they’re unsure where to eat, nearly half of the people won’t search for a restaurant until within an hour of going.

Here is how near me searches vary on the weekend as shown below and you can clearly see the user-intent changing as per the hour of the day.

Top near me searches on weekends

Tips of near me searches

  • Include near me, nearby, nearest keywords in your search campaigns. I will cover more about campaign structure and strategy later in the article.
  • Product/ Category store near me – some examples would be the bicycle store near me, bicycle store nearby
  • Brand Store near me – Club branded keyword with these search terms such as PetSmart near me, Petsmart Nearby, Petsmart Store Nearby, etc. These keywords will drive the cheapest store visitors with highest buying intention.
  • Competitors store near me – If you outnumber your competitor in terms of the number of the stores in the targeted region, then you should also use the competitors brand name with near me search term to drive people to your store. For example, Pizzahut can bid on Dominos near me.

Mobile Bidding

  • Bid more for shoppers who are searching for you on mobile and are more likely to visit one of your physical locations to complete a purchase.
  • If Google ads do not report store visits in your ad account then, you should consider the number of clicks on your location extensions to understand performance differences.

Mobile Case Study

  • Here is a screenshot from my account (It reports offline conversion value though). This could be a good case study as well

Store visits by device

Here are some of the numbers from the screenshot above:

  • Online conversion value is the same for desktop and mobile phones even though the advertising cost on mobile phones is more than twice.
  • However, if you look at overall conversion or All Conv. value here, cost per each store visit is cheaper on mobile compared to desktop. Though the overall conversion rate is higher on the desktop.

Location Bidding

Generate a pre-defined report in your Google ads account on location by distance. Here is how to do it:

Location by distance

  • On the top right corner in your google ads account, click on reports
  • Under predefined reports, clicks on locations
  • Under locations, click on distance.
  • You can adjust different columns. Here is how my report looks like.

Conversion rate by distance

  • You can clearly see that if the users are closer to store
    • Their CTR is the highest
    • Their CPC is the lowest
    • Their cost per conversion is lowest and,
    • the ROAS is the highest.
  • So, you should set up levels of location bid adjustments based distance by location performance.

Products Driving Offline Sales

Not all products categories drive offline sales. Understand what product categories drive offline sales the most. Here are some tips:

  • Have sufficient budget for those products and product categories
  • Bid higher on mobile or location for these products
  • Have their promotional offers featured in the site-links to drive more local interest
  • Add more keywords for this category or use broader match types to discover keywords that people are using to refer to these products

Search Campaign Strategy

Though local store visits campaigns are Display network campaign, but, if you planning to drive footfalls to your local stores, you should also consider search campaign. Normally, here are the ad groups structures for the local store visits search campaign

Brand-Based AdGroup

  • The brand with targeted keywords as PetSmart near me, Petsmart Nearby, nearest Petsmart store, etc. (It has already been covered above in the article)

Competitor-Based Adgroup

  • If you outnumber your competitor in terms of the number of the stores in the targeted region, then you should also use the competitors brand name with near me search term to drive people to your store. For example, Pizzahut can bid on Dominos near me.
  • Use most prominent competitors with stores in those areas
  • In the search ad copies, advertise better offer compared to your competitor

Product/ Category store near me

  • Some examples would be the bicycle store near me, bicycle store nearby
  • Use search terms such as best, top, cheapest, buy, purchase (depending upon the context) in the ad copies

Extensions

  • Create a sense of urgency towards the end of the campaign. You can use countdown in the search ad copies
  • Have their promotional offers featured in the site-links to drive more local interest

Display Campaign Best Practices

Here are the tips and best practices for the local store visits campaigns that run on Display network on Google:

  • Can the find the direction from the landing page?
  • Are you delivering useful local information such as directions, inventory, and pricing when people land on your site or app?
  • Are you delivering useful local information such as directions, inventory, and pricing in your ad copy?

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