Google is getting increasingly local in the way it is driving consumers towards businesses. With consumers increasingly staying connected whilst mobile and using location-based services, it is a trend that is likely to gain pace as the opportunities to integrate our location with our search queries increases.
Google will certainly tell us this is for our benefit, but of course Google makes its money from the services and advertising it sells. That doesn’t mean you need to spend money to take advantage of location-based search as a business though!
Research by Google suggests that mobile search ads drive four store visits for every online conversion.
There will be a number of factors behind that, with consumers looking for a combination of convenience, service and price. Increasingly, consumers appear willing to make a trade on price for the other factors, giving local businesses a potential edge over their online rivals. Why else would online businesses be investing so heavily in speeding up their delivery services? We are becoming increasingly impatient and want things immediately!
Google Store Visit Conversion
One very interesting service from Google is their store visit conversion tracking solution. It is currently only available to larger businesses using AdWords alongside their Google My Business accounts, but it demonstrates how Google can use location tracking on a mobile device to link on and off-line activity.
Think about the scenario. A customer is looking for a new camera. They search online (perhaps ‘which is the best camera’) and see results from many of the large retailers. Then they decide they need it urgently, or perhaps that they want to ask some questions about it and see there is a local shop selling it. Heading over to the shop, Google is able to track their mobile device entering that shop. If that retailer is participating in Google’s store visit conversion programme, they will see how their advertising spend has resulted in a successful outcome – the visit to their shop of a user who has searched for one of their products.
Right now, small businesses are not eligible to participate in this service from Google. But it is interesting to note how closely they have tied it to their ‘My Business’ service, one that is freely available to all businesses.
Google ‘My Business’ – Why Your Business Should Be Using It
If your business is not using Google My Business yet, consider what it can offer you.
– Greater prominence in the search results for your brand;
– Insight into the ways people found your business in search;
– Details of where customers found you – traditional search results or via maps;
– What customers did with the search results – called you, visited your website, requested directions or looked at the photos you have uploaded;
This is insight you can use to refine your digital profile – on your website and via listings such as Google My Business.
How long before Google start telling all businesses the number of tracked Google users who visited their premises? It certainly feels as though Google is looking to cement its dominance in the search market by demonstrating to businesses exactly how they are helping connect customers with ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses as well as online retailers.
For any business, understanding how their marketing spend affects actual sales is a key objective. Make sure your business is exploiting location-based marketing tools to drive customers into your store.