Online Drives Store Purchases! Google tracks 4 billion store visits from ads

Google says thousands more advertisers will gain access to store visit data with the help of machine-learning.

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Everyone’s been desperate for years to join up online advertising with in-store visits and purchases. And Google’s been doing it’s bit to match clicks on ads t getting people in shops.. On Wednesday, Google said it has now captured over 4bn shop visits following a user’s ad click online, up from 1bn under a year ago…

In September, Google extended the programme to include the Google Display  Network GDN and said it had statistically significant numbers relating to visits to 200 million stores globally.

Google is looking to make store visits data available to thousands more businesses due to advancements in the measurement process.

Google measures these visits based on aggregated and anonymised data from users who opt into Location History tracking on their phones, surveys and mapping tech.

Google says in the past month it’s shifted to models that can train on larger data sets to increase accuracy in focus on location signals (makes perfect sense, eh?).

“This allows us to reliably measure more store visits in contexts that are typically tricky, such as in multi-story malls and dense geographies where many business locations are situated close to each other,” Kishore Kanakamedala, director of product management for online-to-offline solutions, says.

zigzag digital agency york online offline retail oxford street imageRecent improvements include an update of Google Earth and Google Street View images to get up-to-date info of where buildings begin and end, together with testing WiFi strength in more buildings to determine business boundaries.

Google surveys some users to verify the places they’ve visited and then reconciles that feedback against predictions to continue training the models. On top of this, Google says it now has teams that conduct in-person audits and site visits in high density areas, to provide more data.

In November, Google added store visits data to distance and location reports in AdWords to provide more detail on how far users were from a store location when they clicked on an ad and what areas drive the highest volume of store visits, down to the postal code.

So what does this mean? We’ll at the very least it means we need to watch for that final piece of the puzzle to be joined between online and offline, and from a selfish point of view, it will make conversations about the limitations of reporting and accuracy far shorter for me!

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