Omni-Channel Attribution with Google's Store Visit Metric

Google’s store visit metric has been around for a few years now. What’s new, is that they’ve rolled it out to small businesses too.

First, What is Omni-channel attribution?

Normally, omni-channel attribution is a term reserved for businesses that sell online, at a physical location, and/or Amazon, Ebay, etc. Hence, two or more channels. Many businesses don’t sell online and have to attribute sales from appointments, phone calls, etc. I consider that to be two or more channels also.

Applying this to a main street business

Let’s assume that you own a chain of oil change stations. Some sly marketer convinces you that you should be doing paid search. You drop $5000.

When the campaign is complete, you’re left with results that say 70 people made an appointment. Leaving you with $2500 in profit. Great returns right! You got 2 quarters back for every dollar you spent!

What if that wasn’t the whole story though? What if those ads led people to drive to one of your locations without making an appointment on your website? In the old days, you could never track that. Reliably that is. Welcome to Google’s store visit metric.

Second, what is google’s store visit metric?

Let’s just first admit the fact that everything done electronically is being tracked. The websites you visit, the terms you search, the emails you send, and location history.

Location tracking on your phone is key. Google is tracking your every movement if you have the setting turned on. This leads Google to knowing who clicked on your ad and whether or not they visited your place of business.

Google is always tracking your phone’s location

Now before we get too far down this rabbit hole of “Google is tracking my every move!”. Throw on tinfoil hat and hide in bunker.

Here’s an excerpt from Google. Store visit data is based on anonymous, aggregated statistics. Essentially, it’s un-trackable and I believe them. I’ve worked with Google before and unless you have a PHD in applied Mathematics, you’re not cracking their anonymizing algorithms.

The downside of this is that unless you have enough locations and traffic for Google to make it anonymous, you won’t have access to the store visit metric.

Third, how do you use the store visit metric

Applying the store visit metric is pretty straightforward. Attributing what percent of the store visits is actually caused by the ad is a bit more tricky. This is where the math gets a little too complicated for a short blog post and a hypothetical oil changing company. I’ll do my best though.

Applying this to a main street business

First, you’re going to want to take your $2500 from above and figure out how much was caused by that ad and how much would have been purchased without the ad. I would advise splitting your locations in half based on revenue.

Then you’re going to apply location based ads to one half of the stores. The other half will get no ads and will act as your control. I won’t get into the math to figure out how much to spend to make it statistically significant, but let’s just say $5000.

Next, you’re going to look at the booking differences between the two groups. When looking at this through a lens of test vs control, you realize that $2000 is due to the ads.

Second, you’re going to want to do the same analysis but with people that didn’t book online. These are your walk-ins. You find that the profit difference between the two groups is $3500. Leading to an incremental profit of $5500 when you spent $5000. Total profit equals $500. Hurray! Your campaign is profitable and now you’re printing money!

Third, you take your total profit difference and divide by store visits. This will give your profit per store visit.

This isn’t actually profit per person that visits your establishment. It’s a way to back into the store visit metric to define a value for the metric. Doing this will allow you to use the metric to make sure your ad spend is actually driving incremental profit in the future.

Fourth, what are the requirements

This is where the bad news comes in. Even though Google has expanded to small businesses, there still are some requirements to be eligible. From Google.

  • You must have multiple physical store locations.

  • Receive thousands of ad clicks. Which means you’ll have to had ad campaigns in the thousands of dollars.

  • You have to link your verified Google My Business account/locations to your Google Ads account.

  • Have at least 90% of your linked locations verified in Google My Business.

Lastly, you’re going to need to learn or find someone that can run these campaigns and do the attribution modeling.

If you’re interested in learning more, checkout our resources at the B2C, B2B, and B2G pages.