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The retail gap between online and offline is closing…here’s what you need to know

The retail gap between online and offline is closing…here’s what you need to know

Friday, May 27, 2016

Local searches on mobile devices are growing 50% faster than mobile searches overall, and account for a third of all mobile searches. It therefore comes as little surprise that Google is doing all that it can to help ‘marketers to bridge the digital and physical worlds’, while also making some money out of it! performance-summit-logo At its flagship Performance Summit this week, the search giant has revealed some big updates in its advertising proposition which could seriously help to close the gap between online and the high street, for businesses of all sizes. For decades, businesses (and particularly retailers) have been striving for that ever elusive Single Customer View (SCV) across every channel and touch point. This ambition is still held by many as the nirvana of marketing success, and the key to customer loyalty and retention. But the increased sophistication of mobile technology and social media has combined to make this a pretty sizeable, costly and in some cases impossible, task. In the UK, the percentage of transactions that happen online remains around 16%. So that’s 84% of customer purchase data that brands and retailers need to capture, if they have any hope of building a complete, joined-up view of their customer. Unless a loggable transaction takes place, it’s a huge chunk of consumer interaction that the business may never see. But over the past two years, Google has made efforts to measure more than one billion store visits across the globe, through AdWords Store Visits, keeping track of how online ads are impacting in-store behaviour. The data is an estimate, with a store visit being based upon a user’s proximity to the advertiser’s location on Google Maps, when they have Location History activated on their smartphone. It also pulls in data relating to search ad clicks across all devices and campaign types, including product listing ads and local inventory ads, and considers store visits that have taken place within 30 days of an ad click. Learnings so far are limited in accuracy, but Google shared within a press briefing on Monday that car manufacturer Nissan found in the UK, though Store Visits, that “6% of mobile ad clicks result in a trip to a dealership, delivering an estimated 25x return on investment.” It seems likely that in the future, Google will introduce in-store beacon technology, for example, to help gather more specific and accurate data. So here’s a roundup of some of the key reveals that have taken place during Google’s Performance Summit this week, which could have a big impact on how we close the gap between online and offline…

Promoted Pins arrives to Google Maps

The search giant is bringing what it calls more “branded and customised experiences” for marketers to Google Maps. A big development within this is the launch of ‘promoted pins’ or ‘promoted locations’ on Maps. Users will see these promoted pins along their route, or as nearby within their area. Users will be able to tell the difference between a promoted location and an organic location by the colour of the pin on the map and the word “ad” in the text.

Pimped up local pages

Local business pages across and Google Maps have been expanded to bring in more customised content. For example, retailers can provide details of offers and promotions they have running, to help encourage visits to store. There will also be the ability to browse product inventory, providing the business has an inventory feed going to Google.

The ability to adjust AdWords bids, according to device

Over the next few months Google will offer businesses the ability to set individual bid adjustments for specific devices such as mobile, desktop and tablet. This will let advertisers set their base keyword bid to the device they consider most valuable to their business or campaign, and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices.

Expanded text ads

Google is also introducing expanded text ads in AdWords, providing retailers with more ways to encourage customers in-store.  Businesses will have more space to display information about products and services, before a user clicks. For more insights on how the retail space is evolving, you may be interested to read our post, ‘Why retail is on the verge of total reinvention’.

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