Destination Digital

What Are Store Visits in Google Ads?

If footfall in physical stores is important to you, then you would be interested in the data on store visits in Google Ads. Here’s a run-down on what these stats mean and how to implement them.

For large chains, or retailers that sell through supermarket networks and other retail chains, footfall to physical stores is an important facet of the impact of search engine advertising. The store visits metric is a useful one for you to add to your Google Ads reporting if you want to get a trend report on how many people are visiting stores after being exposed to your ads.

There are two types of store visit reports, the ‘Stores Visits’ and the ‘View Thru Stores Visits’ metrics. The former is a more active type of store visitor than the latter and the difference is down to how long the person spent in the geo location of your store as well as whether or not they clicked on your ad. Geo location is based on the co-ordinates of your store, so you need to make sure these are accurate in your Google My Business account if you own that store. If you distribute through large retail chains, you will find the networks available to you in the locations area of your account so that you can add them in.

The people who wander into the vicinity of your store with their mobile phones in their pockets are the people who are being geo-located! This might creep some people out a bit, but that’s how the tech works.

Now all of this is great if you have a physical location. For instance, if you are a pub, a florist or have a chain of clothes shops, then you have stores that you own that people can visit. In order to add these to your Ads account you need first to have them listed in your Google My Business account. Once all your physical stores are verified in Google My Business, you can then import them into your Google Ads account and start tracking. Simple!

Many of the clients we look after at Destination Digital produce products that are sold in a whole range of retail outlets. For instance you can find Faith In Nature in Holland & Barrett, Boots and Tescos; you can find Mr Fothergill’s in over 3,000 garden centres; and HECK are listed in Asda, Tescos, Sainsburys, Morrisons and pretty all of the major supermarkets and a great number of convenience stores like Spar and Booths.

For these kinds of accounts, you can still use the Store Visits reporting in Google Ads by adding in the network chains to your ‘locations’ reporting.

Here’s how to add locations to your Google Ads account

  • Go to your Google Ads account
  • Click ‘All campaigns’ and then ‘Ads & Extensions’ and then select ‘Extensions’
  • Click the + button at the top and then select ‘location extensions’
  • Your account will then show you locations from your Google My Business account if you have linked the two accounts together.
  • Select the location(s) you would like from your list then click continue
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to apply a business name or add any labels you might need and click finish.


Here’s how to add chain locations to your Google Ads account

Similar to the above steps, you will see an alternative option to choose ‘select curated locations’ if you own the chain of locations. These will be added to the account as and when new stores open up once you have added these extensions to your account.

If you are a manufacturer that lists products in other people’s chains, then you must instead choose ‘affiliate locations’ from the drop down. You will then be shown a list of countries, and within the countries you can search for retail outlets – for instance, Sainsbury’s or Homebase or Go Outdoors. Keep adding all the retailers you have listings in to add them to your account.

Note that you can only select all outlets in a chain, so this extension option is best for businesses who have country-wide listings rather than only in specific trial stores.


Here’s how to add Store Visits reporting to your Google Ads campaigns

  • Go to your Google Ads account
  • Click ‘campaigns’ in the left hand column and then click the ‘Columns’ icon that runs across the top of the main stats table over to the right of your screen. Click ‘Modify Columns’.
  • Add any of the Store Visits related metrics by clicking the check boxes under ‘Conversions’ and then click save to display these metrics in your main table of Campaign statistics.

Your account must have enough data for this information to turn up, so if you have a new account that you have only just started working on, then you might have to wait a few weeks until there is enough click activity and enough footfall in stores in order for Google Ads to report this back to you. The good news is that the data is usually back dated once the data gathering trigger point is reached so you will be able to retrospectively look at the figures when you see them pop up in your account.


How to see a store-by-store report within Google Ads

  • Go to your Google Ads account
  • Click ‘all campaigns’ in the left hand column
  • In the secondary left hand navigation you will see ‘locations’ towards the bottom of the list, click this to reveal the option for a ‘per store report’.

In this per store report you can see how many impressions of your ads were shown on a store by store basis, how many store visits happened as a result of people seeing your ads, and other metrics such as driving directions or website visits made.

This information can be really useful for helping you make geographically targeted campaigns on Google Ads, or use this information to find our where your products’ ‘heartland’ is. If you have better engagement in Glasgow and Edinburgh for instance and almost none in Northern Ireland or Cornwall, then you can make decisions about your marketing and advertising spend accordingly.


How do I calculate the value of a visitor to my stores or affiliate stores?

This is a very good question where the frustrating answer is ‘it depends’.

If you own your own stores and these stores sell *only* your products, you can make calculations based on sales figures quite readily. You would need to know what conversion rate you have for store visitors – for instance, do a quarter of all visitors to your stores buy something? You would also need to know your average basket value in-store – for instance, does the average customer spend £35 in one visit? In this scenario, 25% of £35 is £8.75. This means that each store visit has a value to you of £8.75. This kind of example works well for shops and boutiques that stock only their own products (eg: a womenswear shop or a retailer like The Body Shop, for instance) and can help you tie back your Google Ads spend to create a ROI calculation.

If however you have products in large retailers like the supermarket networks, your figures would be very much more diluted. Although you can still use similar metrics based on the feedback you get on units sold from the retailers each week, you will find your store visit values to be much lower than in the previous example. People are likely to go to the supermarket frequently anyway. Google Ads collects data on visits people make after seeing your ads, and after clicking your ads. An engaged click still doesn’t mean that a store visit where your product is listed is driven by the need for that person to buy your product. They might have just popped in to buy some milk. So in analysing this kind of data you need to recognise influencing factors like this, and observe overall sales trends instead.


Read more

We hope that this series of articles will save you hours of searching for how to deal with small tasks. Take a look at the other articles we’ve put together:

As we work our way through small and always difficult to remember tasks at the coalface of marketing, we’re sure there will be additions to this list very soon, so maybe bookmark this page if you found it helpful.


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We’re Google Partners, so if you’d like help with Google Analytics, Google Ads, marketing data analysis or digital marketing strategy, please email us on or give us a call on 01629 810199.

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