Store visit conversion tracking in Google Ads (AdWords)

How can you optimize your Adwords campaigns for conversions, if the majority or all of your conversions are happening offline, in your physical shops/stores?

According to Google, 95% of retail sales still happen in physical stores and not online.

Many people use the internet to research about a particular product but often visit a physical store to make a purchase.

As a result, businesses who advertise online but sell in physical stores have a hard time understanding how their online ads and websites are driving offline sales.

This creates online-offline attribution issues.

In order to fix such attribution issues you need to track the number of ‘store visits‘ generated by your adwords campaigns:


If you use Google AdWords then you can use its ‘shop/store visit conversion tracking’ feature to measure the impact of clicks on your ‘location based Google AdWords search ads’, in terms of bringing prospective customers to your physical store.

In other words, through store visit conversion tracking you can determine the number of people who visited your physical store or location after clicking on your AdWords ads.

A store visit conversion is recorded when a user visits your physical store after clicking on one of your ‘Google AdWords location based ads’ (within 30 days).

Google takes ad clicks on all devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone etc.) into account while calculating store visits.

Through the store visit metric you can determine the AdWords campaigns, ad groups and keywords which sent prospective customers to your physical store in the last 30 days, after clicking on one of your location based search ads.

You can then choose to bid on these campaigns, ad groups and keywords more aggressively in order to increase ‘in-store traffic’.

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The store visits data is collected and aggregated anonymously by Google so you cannot associate an individual ad click or store visit to a particular person.

The store visit conversion tracking is available only to selected advertisers (mostly large retailers) at present.

Contact your account manager to determine whether you, as an AdWords advertiser, qualify for store visit conversion tracking and whether this tracking is available in your physical location.

If you qualify for store visit conversion tracking, then follow the steps below to track store visits in your AdWords reports:

Step 1: Sign in to your Google AdWords account and then navigate to ‘Tools’> ‘Conversions’:


Step 2: Create a new conversion of type ‘store visits’:


Step 3: Navigate to the ‘campaigns’ tab and click on ‘columns’, then ‘modify columns’:


Step 4: Click on the ‘custom columns’ link.

Step 5: Name your new column ‘store visits’ and then select the ‘store visits’ conversion name, as shown below:


Step 6: Click on the apply button:


You can now see the ‘store visits’ data in your AdWords reports:


Note: Store visit conversion tracking will only tell you how many people interacted with your AdWords ad and then entered your physical store. It does not give you any insight on how many of these people actually ended up making a purchase in your physical store. This lack of information on in-store transactions is the major drawback of store visit conversion tracking in Google AdWords.

As such, a traditional MMM model is not suitable for carrying out digital marketing mix modelling aka attribution modelling.

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My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

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