Earlier this year, Google made an announcement that the company was developing a new extension for AdWords that shows how Google ads can drive shoppers to brick-and-mortar locations. The new feature, called Store Visits, will now be part of Google’s Estimated Total Conversions (ETC) service. Through this new service, retailers will be able to see exactly which types of advertisements are motivating shoppers to go out and visit stores.

How it works: An algorithm determines how many shoppers have traveled to a store after seeing Google Ads in a 30-day period. The data is pulled from all types of searches, whether on desktops, tablets, or on a phone, and this data is aggregated and anonymized from shoppers that have their location history turned on. These Google ads typically consist of location ads, product listing ads, or local inventory ads, so shoppers can check if an item is in stock at their local store.

Retailer Pilot Program

Three national retailers, Office Depot, PetSmart, and Famous Footwear, are serving in the pilot program for Store Visits. The three retail stores are using these insights to tweak their Google AdWords to best serve their customers. For example, through this pilot, PetSmart realized that 10 to 18 percent of clicks on their store ads led to an in-store visit. Given this intel, the company invested in additional advertisements and increased the appearance of location extensions to show shoppers searching for pet products online where the nearest physical PetSmart is located.

Office Depot is using the advertisements to show customers which items they’ve searched for are currently in stock at the Office Depot stores nearest them. In addition to enhancing the customer experience, this also benefits Office Depot by showing the company which products are most popular in online searches.

While the program is still fairly new, and currently only open to select retailers with multiple locations, this could prove to be a powerful tool to add to retailers’ belts to help give a better picture of the marketing strategies that will boost the bottom line online, and in stores. Interested in the program? Make sure you take the other necessary steps to qualify. Those requirements include having a Google My Business account linked to an AdWords account, setting up location extensions in the Google My Business account, and receiving thousands of ad clicks and many store visits. For full instructions on how to set it up, visit Google Support.