With insights from shop visit conversions in AdWords, BMW UK realises 173:1 return on investment from search marketing

June 2016

Constant connectivity brings with it an epic shift in the way businesses build experiences for their customers. Getting better insight into complex purchase paths that span online and offline can help advertisers optimise their digital marketing programmes, design better experiences for their customers and allocate budget more effectively. Shop visit conversion measurement is key to unlocking these insights by showing how many paid search interactions result in a visit to the advertiser’s physical shop.


Measure online-to-offline consumer behaviour


Used shop visit conversions in AdWords


Discovered 3.5% of paid clicks resulted in physical visit within 30 days across 146 dealerships

173-to-1 return on investment on search marketing campaigns

As one of the world’s largest luxury carmakers, BMW UK knew that when making a big decision – such as buying a car – people often do their research online. In fact, nine out of ten of new car buyers will research online before making a purchase. Of these, 78% start with search, but only 26% fill in an online lead form. This poses a measurement challenge for car manufacturers and their marketing teams.1

In order to understand this online-to-offline consumer behaviour in EMEA, BMW UK began to measure shop visit conversions through Google AdWords. No investment or set-up was required. So how does the technology work? Google Maps has mapped hundreds of millions of buildings worldwide, which means that information can be married with the location history of Google’s user base. But even with a good location signal and great maps, data quality issues can make detecting shop visits difficult, which is why a survey panel of over 1 million users then helps calibrate Google’s algorithms to achieve near perfect accuracy.

Thanks to the tool, BMW UK learned that 3.5% of paid clicks resulted in a physical visit within 30 days across 146 dealerships. Even after applying a conservative discount rate to take into account the influence of other media, BMW UK realised a 173:1 return on investment on its search marketing campaigns. Armed with these strong results, BMW UK is now optimising its campaigns to drive shop visits earlier in the marketing funnel and across all devices.

“Shop Visits provides fantastic insight to our pay-per-click search activity and the way we optimise our paid search campaigns,” affirms Kasia Zieba, Head of UK Paid Search at iProspect. “Having footfall measurement in place really strengthens our knowledge on the digital consumer journey.”


Opel drives awareness of and engagement using Lightbox Ads with its relaunched Mokka model