Back to all success stories

PetSmart Success with Store Visit Search Ads

January 2015


PetSmart, the largest retailer of pet supplies, is a longtime Google Ads customer. To better understand the full value of its search ad investment and improve customer experiences online and in-store, it implemented Google's Store Visits. Consequently, PetSmart has revealed that 10-18% of all customers who click on its search ads will visit in-store within 30 days. With this additional in-depth data, the company has been able to optimize its budget and better understand its customers' journey.

PetSmart, the largest specialty retailer of pet supplies and solutions, has 1,352 stores and more than 200 in-store PetSmart PetsHotels® facilities across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. PetSmart is a long-time Google Ads customer, using search ads to drive both online and in-store sales.

By testing store visits measurement, PetSmart gained insight into how clicks on its search ads impact visits to its brick-and-mortar stores.


  • Confirmed that search ads drive store visits to local stores and provided a specific store visit rate that can calculate the full return on its search investment
  • More comprehensive data has allowed PetSmart to better understand its customer journey from online to in store as well as optimize its budget
  • 10-18% of all clicks on PetSmart's search ads resulted in an in-store visit within 30 days


  • Better understand the full value of search ad investment
  • Improve customer experiences online and in-store


  • Implemented Google Ads Store Visits to see the influence of search investment on in-store visits

The full value of digital revealed

Since 2011, PetSmart has been running geo-based tests to prove the efficacy of search advertising on store traffic and sales. These tests provided validation that Google search advertising was driving sales in store. PetSmart used the test findings to inform future search investment decisions and, as a result, increased its Google search investment incrementally over time.

While considered cutting edge at the time, these tests proved to be time consuming and expensive, and they could only capture "moments in time," making them impractical as a long-term bid optimization solution..

This changed with the launch of Store Visits data, which revealed that 10-18% of all clicks on PetSmart's search ads result in an in-store visit within 30 days. Not only does this data confirm previous test results, but it also provides visibility across multiple product categories on an ongoing basis and is now available directly in the Google Ads interface..

Store Visits technology has enabled PetSmart to more quickly determine which search strategies are driving traffic in store, which allows it to better focus its investments with Google. Further, this data has given PetSmart additional proof points on the value of search advertising to share with its merchandising partners..

Since gaining access to the Store Visits data, PetSmart is armed with a better understanding of its customers' journey from online to in store, which has driven an increase in its digital investment..

"As a national retailer building a sophisticated local marketing strategy, PetSmart has seen tremendous value in Store Visits data. This data has helped solve an incomplete puzzle," says Phil Bowman, PetSmart's executive vice president. "Historically, we've relied on numerous approximations to tell us how our search ads were driving store visits, but this data has validated our estimates. It helps us understand the full picture of where our customers are going after clicking on a search ad.".

Share this with your network.

Do you think someone may find this useful? Let them know today.

Sign yourself up today

  • 1. Create an account
  • 2. Set your budget
  • 3. Write your first ad and decide where it's going to appear