Grow in-store sales
We've outlined the formula that can help you drive more growth with every dollar this season. Select a step or scroll to get started.
July - August
August - September
September - November
December - January
July - August
Before doing anything else, it’s important to pinpoint your business objective. Then you can make sure your marketing, media and campaign objectives and KPIs are working together to achieve that goal.
Start by talking to the CEO and CMO to make sure your goals line up with theirs.
- Know your business objective
- Marketing objective
- Set your media objectives
- Campaign objectives
Know your business objective
Talk to the CEO.
Or at least make sure you understand their main business objective. This usually falls into one of three categories: market share, revenue, or profit.
And keep in mind — great business objectives are measurable, timebound, and raise the bar above what you’re already achieving.
Now make sure your marketing, campaign, and media objectives are all working toward that same goal.
Brands using agencies
Hold a quarterly business review with your agency to ensure you’re making progress toward your business goals.
To create sustainable growth, shift your focus from driving sales volume or revenue to driving profit. Work with your team to identify profitability goals. Then, use those to inform your marketing investments.
A strong omnichannel strategy will be critical to reaching customers this year as they increasingly turn to digital before going in store. As you set your objectives for this holiday season, consider adding impression share columns to your account for past holiday seasons to see the percentage of time that your ads weren't shown.
Use this equation to see how profitable your advertising campaigns areGoogle Ads Revenue - Cost Of Goods Sold = Google Ads Profit
Kira is the Marketing Manager for a retail chain, Bellevue Bookstore. They sell books and magazines online and have brick-and-mortar stores in a few cities. Kira’s CEO’s business objective is to increase overall revenue by 30% by the end of Q4 – from $2M to $2.6M. Knowing this, Kira can work backwards to develop an effective digital strategy to reach this goal and see what needs to be done to hit that target.
But first, she needs to sit down with her CMO and make sure they’re on the same page.
Align on your marketing objective
This is how the CEO’s business objective is achieved.
It’s usually set by the CMO, and can be anything from generating leads to growing in-store sales.
Today many businesses are omnichannel, with both online and brick and mortar storefronts. So we’ll share recommendations for both marketing objectives: growing offline sales, and growing offline sales and online sales (omnichannel sales) together.
Brands using agencies
Make sure you’re aligned on your marketing objective, not just campaign KPIs.
From focusing solely on store visits to profitable business growth. This positions marketing as a profit center, rather than a cost center.
Kira’s CMO generates the majority of revenue from online sales, but is looking to grow in-store sales 20% by the end of Q4. Together with the potential online sales growth, the CMO is confident the business can reach the 30% overall business growth goal. So, Kira sets her sights on growing in-store sales as her business objective.
Knowing this, Kira creates media objectives that will help to meet that goal.
Set your media objectives
Now things get more detailed.
The media objectives help you meet the marketing objective — which, in this case, is generating in-store sales. They’re usually set by the digital marketing team, and break down into two parts:
Performance objectives focus on the bottom of the funnel, measured by KPIs like phone calls and store visits.
Brand objectives focus on the top of the funnel and drive factors like ad recall, brand awareness, and brand interest.
From only focusing on performance marketing to developing a full funnel strategy — with brand goals that drive lower funnel outcomes.
Kira creates two media objectives:
- Her performance objective is to drive approximately 13,000 in-store purchases from Local campaigns for the year.
- Her brand objective is to demonstrate 30% Ad Recall with a YouTube for reach campaign with location extensions.
Together, that combo should help her CMO meet their growth goals for in-store sales.
Pick your campaign objectives
This is where the rubber meets the road.
Campaign objectives are the KPIs used to gauge the success of a specific marketing campaign. We recommend you keep a close eye on Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).
Make sure all your goals support each other by involving the right people — from account managers to senior decision makers.
From measuring proxies like cost per visit to measuring actual business outcomes, with KPIs like Return On Ad Spend or Customer Lifetime Value.
Since Kira has two media objectives, she sets a campaign objective for each of them.
To meet her performance objective (13k in-store purchases), she sets a goal of driving 26k store visits from Local campaigns since she knows about one in every two visits results in a purchase.
To meet her brand objective (30% Ad Recall), she sets a goal of 22M impressions on YouTube at a $4 CPM.
If she does both, it should mean smooth sailing to meet both of her media objectives – which should help her CMO and CEO meet their goals as well.
August - September
Success is built on strong foundations. Before launching any new campaigns, make sure you have the big three in place: robust measurement, the value of each visit, and powerful creative.
- Privacy-safe measurement
- See what each visit is worth
- Stand out with powerful creative
Understand your customers better with privacy-safe measurement
Collect first-party data
Rising user expectation on privacy have resulted in additional privacy regulations and restrictions on cookies from browsers, changing the way the ecosystem measures conversions.
For marketers, this impacts the performance data available in very real ways across digital platforms, including Google Ads.
Make sure you collect first-party data, like email addresses and customer purchase history, using Google’s global site tag. Sitewide tagging is the most important step you can take because it ensures accurate measurement across browsers in a privacy-safe way.
Measure the customer user journey: use enhanced conversions and upgrade to non-last click attribution
Increase the accuracy of conversion tracking by automatically matching customer data to logged-in user data, all anonymized, using enhanced conversions (broadly available this summer). This helps you to recover conversions not otherwise observed.
And don’t forget to upgrade to non-last click attribution. Before visiting your store, people might interact with several of your ads. Instead of giving all the credit to the last thing they saw or interacted with, non-last click attribution assigns credit to the earlier customer touchpoints that helped influence the ultimate conversion.
When compared to last-click attribution, data-driven attribution typically delivers more conversions at a similar cost to other attribution strategies.1
Data-driven attribution model was upgraded to also attribute non-last click credit to YouTube clicks and engaged views and Display clicks.
After setting up data-driven attribution, Kira was pleasantly surprised to see that one of her video ads had a significant impact on driving customers to her stores. While search ads were bringing in more people, many had seen the video first.
So, she checked the attribution insights, and decided that launching another upper funnel campaign would benefit the business as well.
Comparing attribution models for Bellevue Bookstore
Note: A data-driven model distributes credit differently for each interaction along the consumer journey.
Compare apples to apples
We recommend consolidating platforms to bring all sources of customer data into one place. As your data scales and your process becomes more automated, this will be even more important.
Store Visits reports can take up to 60 days to appear in Google Analytics, and have a fixed lookback window of 30 days.
See what each visit is worth
Connect your digital presence to store visits
The best way to understand and measure the ROI of your Google Ads is with store visits, which track the number of users who visited your store up to 30 days after they clicked on or engaged with your ad.
First, make sure you’re eligible for store visits. If you’re eligible, don’t forget to include them in your account-level conversion settings to make the most of store visit conversions.
Then, see how many visits were driven by Google Ads using the Store Visits Report. You can see store visits and local actions by store location in the per store report.
In addition to store visits, Local actions are a great way to monitor when customers take an action specific to your store, like clicks to call or get directions.
For the best performance and evaluation with smart bidding, use a 7-day store visit conversion window (businesses with longer purchase cycles might require a longer window).
Calculate your conversion value
Now that you’re measuring store visits, let’s understand the purchasing power of your visitors. We’ll do this by finding the value of each store visit. This will help reveal insights like your Omnichannel ROAS and the overall value for your store visits conversions. Here’s a formula to help.
Combine your online and in-store goals
Since Google Ads campaigns will drive both online and in-store conversions, make sure to measure your success with an omnichannel ROAS that combines the two together.
Set an Omnichannel ROAS goal
Stand out with powerful creative
Write more effective search ads
Research backs up what we know to be true: the creative aspects of an ad (like headlines) are still the most important element in driving sales. In the link below, we’ve compiled a list of best practices to make your search ads as impactful as possible.
Follow best practices for Google Maps creative
When advertising your business' logo on Google Maps, we recommend using a colorful logo and avoiding a white background. Keep in mind that your logo will be served in a circle, so be sure to use the Ad Preview Tool to get a sense of what your logo will look like.
Follow best practices for Display Ads
For Display Ads, make sure you have a strong image that follows all requirements, with a compelling headline and a clear value prop in the description. When possible, try to use an image with a single subject, a natural composition, and square edges. Avoid overlaying logos or text.
For more help picking the right photo, check out our Display Creative Best Practices Guide.
Use our recipe for strong videos
After lots of testing, we boiled down the essential rules for effective creative on YouTube. Make sure to share them with your creative team before they start on their next video ad.
75% of advertising impact is determined by creative quality.2
Now you're ready.
September - November
Now it’s time to supercharge your efforts. We’ll break this section into two parts: capturing existing demand at the bottom of the funnel, and generating new demand at the top.
- Capture existing demand
- Generate new demand
Capture existing demand
Before diving in...
Make sure your Google My Business account is linked to your Google Ads account. This will automatically enable your location extensions, too.
Make sure you have some recent photos and that your store info (like hours and address) is up-to-date. If your business offers in-store pickup, curbside pickup, or delivery, make sure to add those as well.
Confirm that you qualify for Google Store Visits.
If you’re a manufacturer and sell products through other retailers, set up affiliate location extensions to reach consumers at key decision points.
Looking to drive in-store visits?
Use Local campaigns to bring more customers to your store. Once you create a campaign and customize it with your store’s info (locations, budget, and ad creative), it automatically creates ads for you and puts them in front of the right people. Local campaign ads will be seen by customers searching for what you offer across the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Maps, and YouTube.
Local campaigns could also be a great fit if you want to drive shoppers in store for special sales, events, and store openings.
If you want to showcase your products and store info to nearby shoppers, you can also launch Local Inventory Ads.
Heads up: Before you evaluate your Local campaign’s performance, run it for at least 30 days and target 10+ locations per account (these can be spread across multiple campaigns).
If you don't qualify for Store Visits...
There is still a solution for you – Local campaigns with local actions. It uses secondary actions like clicks to call, clicks to get directions, and site visits from location-based ads to drive customers in-store.
Looking to drive in-store and online visits?
Bring new customers in-store or to your site by launching Search & Shopping campaigns with Smart Bidding for Store Visits. (Here’s a recap of how to do that from the Online Sales section.) Make sure to optimize both for store visits. Then, set a value for store visits and include them in all of your biddable conversions.
These are great ways to connect with customers who are already searching for you, for maximum impact online and in-store.
Another way to get in front of customers is Local Inventory Ads. They showcase your in-stock products and store info to nearby shoppers searching with Google.
Which bidding strategy is right for you?
*Total conversions include all conversion actions that are included in ‘Conversions’ column (Website, Apps, Calls, Store Visits etc.). If you value conversion actions differently, you should use value focused bid strategies.
Not qualified for Store Visits?
Check back often to see if you become eligible. In the meantime, keep following online sales best practices, and ensure that your Google My Business account is properly linked.
As more customers return to in-store shopping this holiday season, don’t forget to promote your store pickup options such as pickup later, pickup today, and curbside pickup.
After confirming that Bellevue Bookstore qualified for store visits, Kira set up a Local campaign. It automatically targeted customers who were actively searching across Google Search, Maps, YouTube, and more. And since her business qualified for Store Visits, Google’s machine learning automatically optimized for the combinations that drove the most customers to her door.
Generate new demand — expand to new platforms
For Display and Video campaigns, store visits will show in reporting but won’t be shown in bidding when added at account level using the “Include in ‘Conversions’” setting.
Kira wanted to capture the attention of people who weren’t already looking for a bookstore. So, she ran a TrueView for reach campaign, with location extensions, on YouTube to efficiently catch the attention of a wide range of book lovers using the simplicity of CPM.
Time to refine
Evaluate & expand
December - January
As time passes, you’ll better understand how your ads are performing. Use this information to optimize your performance, test new strategies, and find more opportunities for growth.
- Spend your time wisely
- Test, learn, and refine
- Don't miss the opportunity
Give automation time to learn
It can take around two weeks to get an accurate read on your data when using automated bidding solutions. For Local campaigns, we recommend waiting 30 days before making any adjustments.
Check the bid strategy report to see how many days are left in your learning period, and try not to make many changes to your campaign in the meantime.
Spend your time where it counts
Let Google find the opportunities
When you’re running hundreds of campaigns, saving time is critical. Your optimization score helps you do this by estimating how well your Google Ads account is performing, and gives you personalized recommendations that will help it perform even better.
80% of digital marketers’ time is spent on manual tasks like bidding, and only 20% is spent on strategy.3
Keep an eye out in your account for these top optimization score recommendations for holiday readiness:
- Bids - Bid more efficiently with Target ROAS to fully automate your bidding strategy. Keep an eye on suggestions to Set a ROAS target or to Adjust ROAS targets for your existing campaigns.
- Budgets - Keep ads running on your busiest days by Increasing Budgets and stay ahead of seasonal trends with the Raise budgets for upcoming traffic increases recommendation.
- Coverage - Apply Dynamic Search ads and use Broad Match keywords with Smart Bidding to maximize Search coverage. Keep an eye out for suggestions on how to improve your RSA Ad Strength!
Test, learn, and refine
Using store visits? Add local actions, too.
It never hurts to have another in-store KPI.
Update your Google Ads conversion settings to include a local actions value. Once you assign secondary actions values like “clicks for directions,” you’ll be able to launch Local campaigns with local actions. Then, you’ll see a complete view of your customer’s path to purchase.
Optimize for your best-performing campaigns and creative assets
Once your Local campaigns have gathered enough data, you can bundle locations to create subsets based on performance. Then you can then tailor your budget and creative assets for each.
You can also use the Asset Report to identify which creative assets are performing the best, giving you valuable insight on whether to rotate, remove, or improve them.
When bundling locations, consider dividing by rural vs. urban or high value stores vs. low value stores.
Get in-store insights
To help evaluate the success of your in-store campaigns, use:
Per Store Report: This allows you to see anonymized and aggregated store visits and local actions by store location, which can give insights on how to distribute your in-store budgets by store.
Time Lag Report: This shows how long it takes for customers to visit your store following the ad click, providing you with a helpful insight into your customers' journey.
You can use insights from these reports to fine tune your audience targeting, budgets, and messaging or marketing strategy to better reach your customers.
Don’t leave opportunity on the table
Grow your slice of the pie
Using the Local Competitive Visits Report, you can identify the number of search queries, clicks, and store visits that went to other advertisers because their ads showed for a relevant local search query while your ads didn’t. Using this information, you can optimize your budget, bidding, and keywords to capture some of those missed opportunities.
Evaluate customer lifetime value
When planning your next steps, take lifetime customer value into account.
Figuring out the value of each of your customers isn’t easy. You’ll need to evaluate data from paid sources, organic sources, and your other marketing efforts. Figuring out lifetime value will allow you to bid to the full value each customer provides your business.
To get started, find out how much you’re earning from each customer, go into Google Analytics, open reports, and select "Audience > Lifetime Value."
Leave budget headroom to ensure you capture all sales at your ROAS target. Set at least 30%+ budget headroom, and if possible around 500% for big events like Black Friday. This will grow your volume while your business goals are met.
The new insights page in Google Ads updates daily, and it shows curated insights unique to the business to help you understand current performance, identify growth opportunities and category expansions.
Kira was glad to see that Local campaigns helped Bellevue Bookstore’s in-store sales increase by 20% during the first half of the year. However, she knew she could do more.
So, she continued to optimize her campaigns for her top performing stores and creative assets. Then, she invested in more upper funnel strategies leading up to the holidays (like YouTube for reach), to make more people aware of the Bellevue Bookstore brand.
Together, these efforts helped her pass her 20% goal of growing in-store sales, and helped her CEO exceed the 30% revenue growth goal for the year. Business objective? Check. Marketing objective? Check. Promotion? We think that should get a check, too.