AdWords Store Visits helps PetSmart measure how Google Search Advertising affects in-store traffic

January 2015

PetSmart, the largest retailer of pet supplies, is a longtime Google AdWords customer. To better understand the full value of its paid search investment and improve customer experiences online and in-store, it implemented Google's Store Visits. Consequently, PetSmart has revealed that 10_18% of all customers who click its search ads will visit in-store within 30 days. With this additional in-depth data, the company has been able to optimise its budget and better understand its customers' journey.


Implemented AdWords Store Visits to see the influence of search investment on in-store visits


Better understand the full value of paid search investment

Improve customer experiences online and in-store


Confirmed that search ads drive shop visits to local shops and provided a specific shop visit rate that can calculate the full return on its search investment

More comprehensive data has allowed PetSmart to better understand its customer journey from online to in-store as well as optimise its budget

10–18% of all clicks on PetSmart's search ads resulted in an in-store visit within 30 days

PetSmart, the largest specialty retailer of pet supplies and solutions, has 1,352 stores and more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotelsÔ facilities across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. PetSmart is a long-time Google AdWords customer, using search to drive both online and in-store sales.

By testing shop visits measurement, a part of Google's Estimated Total Conversions, PetSmart gained insight into how clicks on its search ads impact visits to its brick-and-mortar shops.

The full value of digital revealed

Since 2011, PetSmart has been running geo-based tests to prove the efficacy of search advertising on shop traffic and sales. These tests provided validation that Google search advertising was driving sales in-store. PetSmart used the test findings to inform future search investment decisions and, as a result, increased its Google search investment incrementally over time.

While considered cutting edge at the time, these tests proved to be time consuming and expensive, and they could only capture "moments in time", making them impractical as a long-term bid optimisation solution.

This changed with the launch of Store Visits data, which revealed that 10_18% of all clicks on PetSmart's search ads result in an in-store visit within 30 days. Not only does this data confirm previous test results, but it also provides visibility across multiple product categories on an ongoing basis and is now available directly in the AdWords interface.



Store Visits technology has enabled PetSmart to more quickly determine which search strategies are driving traffic in-store, which allows it to better focus its investments with Google. Further, this data has given PetSmart additional proof points on the value of search advertising to share with its merchandising partners.

Since gaining access to the Store Visits data, PetSmart is armed with a better understanding of its customers' journey from online to in-store, which has driven an increase in its digital investment.

"As a national retailer building a sophisticated local marketing strategy, PetSmart has seen tremendous value in Store Visits data. This data has helped solve an incomplete puzzle," says Phil Bowman, PetSmart's executive vice president. "Historically, we've relied on numerous approximations to tell us how our search ads were driving shop visits, but this data has validated our estimates. It helps us understand the full picture of where our customers are going after clicking a search ad."

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