Google Store Visits links online campaigns with offline store visits

2020 was the year when retailers were also forced to make the switch from offline to online. Compared to our neighboring countries, e-commerce had been lagging behind for quite a while in Belgium, but the evolution finally gained momentum due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the relaxation of the measures against the coronavirus, it would be a shame to throw out the baby with the bathwater and close the digital tap completely. But how do you measure the offline conversions of your digital advertisements? With Google Store Visits of course! You can use it to determine how many physical store visits are the direct result of seeing a Google Ads advertisement.

An omnichannel strategy

Once the measures against the coronavirus are relaxed, consumers will research interesting products online before they drop by your physical store - probably more than ever. We’ve known for a long time that Google Ads influence store visits; the question is being able to measure this impact.


Google Store Visits, a functionality within Google Ads, tells you which campaigns, search terms and devices generate the most store visits. You get a better insight into the true ROI of your online advertisements by taking into account both online and offline conversions. The acquired data enables you to make better informed decisions regarding advertisement material, expenditures, bidding strategies ... Data on your Google Store Visits is actually indispensable to your omnichannel strategy!

How does Google Store Visits work?

When a customer views and/or clicks on your advertisement and subsequently visits your store within the next 30 days, Google Store Visits makes it possible to ascertain which campaign convinced that specific customer. So, Google Store Visits links the customer’s store visit with his or her involvement with the advertisement.

How does Google Store Visits work behind the scenes? Store visits are measured based on data from wi-fi, GPS and cell towers. Your Google searches are also a major source of information. If you enter search terms like ‘toy store’, ‘IKEA’, or ‘interior design trends 2021’ on a regular basis, the system remembers this. This means Google can use mobile data to link your searches with actual store visits. When Google Store Visits suspects a visit may have taken place, they query (and validate) selected users on their store visit. Google also uses the data of a large group of users whose location tracking is activated. This data is then extrapolated to also draw conclusions about those users who have turned off location tracking. For privacy reasons, it is obviously not possible to link data on store visits with individual clicks, impressions or persons.

Moreover, the system is learning continuously and it is smart enough to distill certain information from the data. The key factor here is visit duration. A 30 second visit may indicate you were just window shopping. A visit of less than 10 minutes more than likely means you didn’t buy anything or maybe you only came in to collect a (web) order. If you spent 8 hours in the store, you’re most likely an employee.

To be able to use Google Store Visits a number of conditions must be met:

  • For Google to be able to extrapolate information, a sufficient number of customers must be logged in to their account and have given permission to track their location in their account settings.
  • Conversions through store visits are only accessible to certain advertisers. For instance, they are not available to advertisers with sensitive locations, such as a medical practice, religious buildings or sex shops.
  • Moreover, you can’t activate Google Store Visits manually in your Google Ads campaigns. To be eligible you must first meet a number of criteria: 
    • You must have multiple physical store locations.
    • You must generate a sufficient number of impressions and clicks to be eligible for Google Store Visits (Google doesn’t specify how much is ‘enough’, so it’s anyone’s guess). What’s more, these figures must also be consistent. For example, if you only advertise in summer and not in winter, you will not be able to measure Google Store Visits.
    • All physical stores must have a Google My Business account and at least 90% of the linked store locations must be verified. In addition, your Google My Business account must be linked with your Google Ads account.
    • The location extensions in your Google Ads campaigns must be activated.
    • You need to generate enough physical store visits in order to assign them to the clicks (again Google doesn’t specify how much is ‘enough’).

Do you tick all of these boxes? Then Google Store Visits is automatically included in your Google Ads account.

How do you measure Google Ads’ impact on your offline sales?

For this, you collect the results from Google Ads on the one hand and the physical stores on the other hand:

  • Google Ads shows you how many physical store visits came about after a customer interacted with a Google Ads advertisement, i.e. clicking a text ad or viewing a video or image ad.
  • In addition, you collect the average conversion ratio and the average order value at the physical stores (Google puts the average conversion rate for the retail sector between 30-40%). This way, you can determine your offline turnover.

Based on these results you can calculate the offline ROAS or Return On Ad Spend.


The above example tells us that:

  • 17% of all Google Ads clicks result in store visits;
  • 5 store visits came about within 30 days from clicking a Google Ads advertisement;
  • 2 in 5 visitors to the store bought the product, resulting in a 40% conversion rate for the physical stores;
  • the average order value is € 100, resulting in an offline turnover of €

In other words: Of 17 visitors to the store (per 100 clicks) 40% actually made a purchase in a physical store (6.8 on average, so let’s round up to 7) with an average purchase value of € 100. This puts the conversion rate of Google Store Visits at € 700 per 100 clicks.

Assuming you paid an average of € 5 per 100 clicks, you can also calculate your ROAS:


In our example, this means that for every euro spent on Google Ads, you generate an offline return of € 140, giving you an ROAS of 14,000% (!).

Naturally, the Google Store Visits are also very interesting to take into account when optimising your campaigns. That is why it is a good idea to add an extra column in your Google Ads to keep track of both the conversion rate and the average order value of the physical stores. This enables you to calculate your offline ROAS automatically, and this metric can subsequently be used for the further optimisation of your campaigns.

With Google Store Visits, you can determine which Google Ads campaign has the biggest impact on offline store visits, so the campaign can be optimised in a more targeted way. Need help developing your omnichannel strategy? We are here to help: