Can online marketing help increase foot traffic? It certainly can. As people get vaccinated and many places are opening back up, those of you running brick-and-mortar stores are likely feeling the pressure to drive more foot traffic again. With everyone figuring out how to return to normalcy, foot traffic is more important than before. Increased customer traffic not only leads to higher sales and revenue numbers; having more consumers in your store is often seen as a highly regarded trust signal. When looking to drive in-person visits, you may think that digital marketing is not the right route to take, but Google is here with a campaign type designed to drive in-store traffic.

  • Local campaigns drive foot traffic to your physical store locations
  • To properly set up Local campaigns, ensure you have the needed creatives to set up your campaign and reach users within your targeted locations across Google Search, Google Maps, Google My Business, Google Display, and Youtube
  • Taking an average of in-store purchases and their AOV will allow you to report on conversions and revenue
  • Local campaigns should run for at least two weeks; (un)Common Logic’s best practice recommendation is to assess performance after thirty days to ensure goals are being met and in-store visits increase

Read on to learn more about the benefits and implementation of local campaigns.

What are Local Campaigns?

Local campaigns are Google’s response to brick-and-mortar stores’ need for foot traffic. These campaigns drive in-person traffic by advertising your storefront across Google Search, Google Maps, Google My Business, Google Display Network, and Youtube. With this full approach to local marketing, you can use online vehicles to increase foot traffic and achieve your offline goals.

Google’s automated machine learning will utilize your uploaded assets and information to automatically optimize bids and ad placements, as well as asset combinations, to maximize store visits and promote your locations across all Google properties and networks. Targeted messages will only show to consumers within your “geofence” or targeted geographic region. Then through Google’s robust tracking capacities, Google will attribute your store foot traffic back to your local campaign so you can measure the success of the campaign. (You should always compare this to the results you are seeing in-store to ensure Google’s results are aligning properly).

How to Set Up a Local Campaign

Before creating your local campaign, you will need to have a few creatives. You will need to have at least 1 image, 1 logo, and 1 video of at least 10 seconds. Be sure to check in with Google Ads to make sure you are using accepted image sizes. You will also want to prepare copy. A 30-character headline, 60-character description, 11-character call to action, and a final URL are required.

Additionally, you will want to observe how many walk-in customers make a purchase and how much on average they are spending. Google will then take these back-end metrics into account when optimizing the campaign. Your estimated CVR and AOV will also allow you to report on conversions and revenue.

Once you have all required copy and creatives, you can set up your campaign. To create a local campaign, you will begin like you would any campaign: click the plus icon in the campaign tab of Google and select “new campaign”. In the new campaign window, you will select “local store visits and promotions”. From there you can either select to use Google My Business to pick your store locations or affiliate locations to select stores. For Google My Business you can select all locations in the account, or you can select certain locations. For affiliate locations you will need to choose either an existing locations group or create a new one. Be warned, the geofence will be based off the physical business locations you choose. You can always exclude certain locations if the geofence set is too broad.

In the settings, you will create your campaign name, fill in your ad copy, and upload your creatives. You also will input information on language settings, bidding preferences, budget choices, and any other selections you want to make typical of any campaign creation. If you are in ecommerce and want to connect your local product feed, you can do it at this point. This option is available in the additional settings section. Check the box for “use a product feed for this campaign”. You can then select either Google Ads local product feed or Merchant Center’s local product feed.

Click save and your local campaign is good to launch! At this point, there are a few additional steps you can take to make your local campaigns more robust. If you want to include more than one creative, you will create multiple ad groups. You can also confirm your conversion action settings to ensure your conversions are tracking properly.

Local Campaign Best Practices

Since local campaigns run off machine learning and Google’s machine learnings typically take two weeks to exit the learning phase, you will want to leave the campaign running for a minimum of two weeks so it can optimize. While you do not have to have multiple creatives, it is best practice to have varied creatives to reduce user fatigue and to ensure Google has more possible combinations to form the best performing ads. You will also want to make sure logos are clear and easily recognizable so users can identify your brand quickly.

Ads are also likely to perform best if creatives include location-based messaging such as store front images accompanied by the brand logo or descriptions saying, “Come in and see us”. Given that local campaigns target people in your store’s geofence, messaging that includes the location in some way is more likely to resonate with the user.

It is always best practice to perform an analysis on the success of the campaign once there is enough data. You will want to give the campaign at least thirty days before running a decisive analysis on the long-term success of the campaign. You will need to decide how much an average store visit is worth to determine the returns on the campaign. You can find per store results of the campaign under locations in the left-hand navigation bar. (un)Common Logic recommends comparing data reported in channel to numbers you are seeing in stores. Once you have your data compiled, you can compare it against in-store visits before the campaign launch as well as to pre-existing Google Ads campaigns.

One of our clients implemented Google local campaigns and during a one-month window saw nearly 1,000 store visits attributed to the local campaigns at a CPL lower than their Brand campaigns running during the same time frame (this example was just before the pandemic began).

We have all taken some hits in the past year, but things are finally starting to turn around. Overall, if you are looking to get your number of instore visits back up, Google local campaigns are a low maintenance and high visibility asset we have seen have high success rates. While actual performance should always be assessed, if you own brick-and-mortar stores, local campaigns are a handy asset to drive foot traffic and brand awareness.

Contact us to learn more about the (un)Common Logic approach to using data to improve your digital marketing results and achieve your business goals.