Google is attempting to bridge the gap between online and offline by launching a ‘Store Visits’ metric in AdWords.

Announced on Thursday, the new metric is part of Estimated Total Conversions, AdWords’ holistic conversion-measuring feature. Estimated Total Conversions already provides analytics for phone calls, in-store purchases and cross-device conversions – with some metrics being more accurate than others.

Store Visits will provide a ‘big picture’ estimate of customers who visit a store after engaging with an ad. Thanks to privacy rules, this will be based on “anonymised, aggregated user data [extrapolated] to the broader population”, writes Ginny Marvin at Search Engine Land.

She continues: “Google’s privacy thresholds mean that an individual’s actions won’t be attributed directly back to a search ad click.”

So how useful will this data be? Well, Marvin also reports that Google has said its estimates for cross-device conversions are “very conservative”, so it makes sense to assume the same for Store Visits.

That’s not the only catch. Apparently, reporting for Store Visits will only be available at campaign level, and Marvin reckons only large, multi-location retailers will be eligible to use  the metric, at least initially.

That said, one of the retailers testing the service, PetSmart, reported that 10-18% of ad clicks leads to a real-life store visit.

The feature will be rolling out to eligible advertisers in the States over the coming weeks.

For more on measuring online to in-store behaviour, read our blog post: 4 Ways to Track Online to In-Store Ad Conversions.

News brought to you by ClickThrough – a best practice digital marketing agency.

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Oliver Pyper is senior online copywriter at ClickThrough Marketing. He writes on-page content, blogs, press releases and loads of other bits and pieces too numerous and brilliant to mention. He’s also responsible for Kate Bush: The Musical and a series of videos depicting a young man’s search for energy drinks in New York City. Drop him a line if you want to talk content solutions or Kate Bush.