Similar to how click tracking measures a web ad's impact on online sales, a program being piloted by Google is designed to help retailers better figure out if their online ads are driving in-store sales.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, six advertisers are participating in the program with in-store data provided by Acxiom, DataLogix, LiveRamp and Epsilon. Michaels Stores was identified as one of the retail participants.
Through an AdWords feature called In-Store Attribution Transaction Reporting, purchases can be linked back to users' cookies, which are matched to anonymous Google click IDs. Google can then tell which ads generated in-store sales, and how much they generated.
Currently, AdWords' reports for advertisers include data such as click-through rates, cost per click and post-click information, such as when an online purchase then occurs. Under the pilot program, a column will point to a search's impact on in-store purchases.
Google will reportedly pass an anonymous "click ID" through to the advertiser which typically has a cookie set in the shopper's web browser so, in essence, they can identify who that user is and match the click to related purchases that occur later in-store.
Facebook and Twitter have also recently introduced projects with data providers to show the offline sales impact of their ads. But Google, as the dominant online advertiser, stands to significantly benefit if it can provide better metrics around in-store conversion.
Ginny Marvin wrote for Search Engine Land, "While Google has been introducing new ad formats and features such as image extensions to appeal to brand advertisers, the company knows that brands will really take notice if they can show that a search ad clicks or display ad impressions lead to in-store purchases."
Which type of online ad is more effective in driving sales in stores?