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Drive Offline Sales with Online Ads: Google Best Practices

Measuring the full value of your online ads

When it comes to running your AdWords campaigns, it’s important to optimize your campaigns for maximum return to the business as a whole. And whether that return is from the online or offline channel, it’s all part of the same pie. That’s why measuring and tracking the full impact of your campaigns is so important. It can help to start conversations with different marketing channels on how best to connect with today’s “omni-channel” consumer.

We’ll get you started on a simple model that you can bring to the boardroom (or water cooler) that gets everyone thinking about the full impact that digital is contributing. Then, we’ll go over how you can potentially get even better data to work with.

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Measure the Offline Value of Your Online Ads

Measuring and tracking the full impact of your AdWords campaigns is important to help maximize return on investment. This video will cover how to start measuring the offline value that’s driven by your online ads.

Estimate the amount of offline sales that is driven by your online ads.

Let’s start with a simple model for estimating the value of an offline conversion for your online campaigns. You can partner with your offline store marketing team to help you get started on some of the basic assumptions.

Step 1: Let’s make some educated assumptions about your offline conversion rates and order values.

Assumption 1: Your business location's visit rate = 10%
This is the number of folks who visit your business after seeing an online ad.


Clicks on the “Get Directions” link in your location extensions can be interpreted as interest in visiting one of your business locations. You can divide the total number of clicks on your ad by the number of clicks on these extensions to estimate a store visit rate.

Assumption 2: Visit-to-sale conversion rate = 30%
How many of those who visited your location after seeing an ad are likely to make a purchase?

Assumption 3: Average order value at your location = $50
What is the average order size of an offline purchase?


If you have limited data to inform these assumptions, reach out to your store or local marketing teams and see if they can get you started down the right path.


Step 2: Use this formula to figure out the offline return from your search ads:

Attributable store sales from online ads

Attributable store sales from ads = Clicks on ads x Store visit rate x Store conversion rate x Average conversion value

Clicks on your ads = 75,000

Business visits driven by those ads = 7,500 (or 75,000 * 10%)


Store visit conversions for Search and Display campaigns is a feature available in AdWords for eligible advertisers. The metric estimates the number of users who visited a store up to 30 days after they clicked on your ad. Contact a Google Account Manager and see if you’re eligible for this feature. To learn more about different online-to-offline measurement solutions, check out this guide.


Attributable OFFLINE transactions = 2,250 (or 7,500 * 30%)


Store Transactions Reporting is available for AdWords for eligible advertisers. Say a user clicks on a search ad and then visits the advertiser’s store nearby to complete the purchase. A data provider like Datalogix, LiveRamp, Epsilon, or Acxiom can work with the advertiser to match the online click with the offline purchase (through something like a loyalty card), reporting the attributable conversion into AdWords. Contact a Google Account Manager and see if you’re eligible for this feature.


Attributable OFFLINE sales revenue = $112,500 (or 2,250 * $50)
Tracked ONLINE sales in AdWords = $87,500
AdWords spend = $20,000

Using this simple model, you can estimate that for every $1 invested, you’re making $5.63 in offline sales and $10 in total sales. Now you can optimize your bids using a more accurate measure of return from your ad dollars. In this case, you can bid up until your CPA is about 130% higher and still achieve the same return on ad spend.

Case Study

adidas developed a model using a similar approach to understand how their mobile ads were driving in-store conversions. As a result, they set themselves up for an increased investment into mobile ads.

Case Study

After relying on a similar model to evaluate the success of their location extensions for Display to drive offline engagement, Home Depot used store visits measurement along with store transaction data to discover that its ads drove an 8X in-store ROI. This convinced the brand to quickly expand the pilot nationwide — leading to the same 8X in-store ROI for participating stores.

Now of course, a model is always a good place to start. But over time, you’ll want more accurate data that can help you make even better decisions. To get there, you’ll need to enable some measurement solutions that can verify some of the assumptions you’ve made and help you understand how different marketing channels touch the consumer.

Here are some options to consider:

Measurement to use... If you want to...
Conversion import Import data for offline conversions into AdWords
Store Visits Reporting* Estimate the number of visits to a business location driven by Google search and display ads
Store Transactions Reporting* Attribute offline sales that are driven by Google search and display ads
Doubleclick for Search* Report in-store conversions for all search networks compatible with Doubleclick
*Contact your Account Manager to see if you're eligible.


Marketers are often asked to prove the incremental effect of their promotions, which is a good way to understand how online ads drive offline sales. To learn more about how to run these experiments and measure the incremental impact of your marketing, download our latest guide called Proving Marketing Impact: 3 Keys to Doing It Right. If you want to start thinking about how to attribute sales across all marketing channels, you can upgrade to Universal Analytics or take a look at the Adometry platform.


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