Google and Facebook tell you when their ads drive store visits in the hope that you’ll spend more money. But don’t just take their numbers at face value!
Here’s how store visits work:
- You buy a local-targeted ad on Google, Facebook or another ad network.
- Someone sees that ad and eventually comes to your business location.
- Through location tracking on a person’s mobile device, the ad network can tell that a person went to your location.
- The ad network then reports to you that someone who saw your ad visited your store.
You can read more about Facebook’s store visits metric in this Forbes article, and you can read more about Google expanding store visits to their entire ad network at SearchEngineLand. Heck, even AOL is getting into the act!
What You Should Do
We love the idea of tracking how online advertising impacts offline visits and purchases. Ad networks have made big strides in this area, but you should still take the numbers reported by ad networks with a grain of salt.
By their own admission, Google and Facebook can’t track everyone and thus estimate how many people they THINK visit your store. They also can’t track if it was their ad that drove people to your store or something else. And finally, they count store visits even if the ad was seen days or even weeks prior to the visit.