Advertisers who invest in mobile search ads can be confident there is a direct link to offline store visits and can optimise their messages accordingly.

June 2016

Connected consumers now move seamlessly between offline and online and increasingly use mobile devices as their navigation aids.

Marketers need to make the right decisions on ad spend allocation to drive traffic across both these worlds - from online to store and back again. Now analysis of UK data shows that for every conversion on mobile driven by search ads four store visits are generated.

Online sales are growing rapidly but the majority of consumer purchases are still made in-store. This deeper understanding of the connection between online activity and store visits will help brands optimise their spend and in-store conversion rate.

Sales staff will know that online advertising is helping drive leads and can use their talents to close sales with customers who have already signalled intent and are not just ‘window-shopping’.

Auto is one sector benefitting from this performance insight. Previously, in-market prospects would have looked at a magazine review, ordered brochures and booked a number of test drives. Now 9 out of 10 new car buyers research online [1] to read up on product performance specs, reviews, best deals and trade-in prices and to watch relevant videos.

Car marques like BMW and Nissan needed more accurate information on the connection between online activity and visits to dealerships. By using Store Visit Conversions in AdWords they were able to analyse data at keyword level and link a person clicking on an ad to a showroom visit.

Nissan used the data to optimise its online ad spend and recorded a 5% conversion rate from clicks on search ads to store visits – with an especially impressive 6% conversion rate on mobile. Similarly, BMW’s search marketing test saw 3.5% of clicks on a search campaign convert to a car dealership visit within 30 days.

Mobile is where most consumer journeys start; more searches now take place on mobile than on desktop in most developed markets [2]. Brands can use a suite of AdWords tools, including Location Search ads and the just launched Customer Match for Shopping unveiled at the Think Retail event in London, to ensure they are reaching customers in the moments that matter on mobile. These products help better identify audiences that are likely prospects and provide more accurate targeting.

With the knowledge that online ad spend works hard in generating offline leads, marketers can devise fully integrated campaigns from search to store that will give them a competitive edge and deliver sales.

[1] 2015 Google/TNS Global Auto Study
[2] Google Data