Google Clarifies “In-Store Visits” Metric at #HeroConf

photoLast December, for the first time, Google began reporting in-store visits so advertisers could finally measure how their online efforts translated into store visitors. Owners of brick-and-mortar stores were naturally curious about how this metric was measured. At the time, Google stated that is was an estimate based on GPS signals and the proximity of the user to the store. Estimates make us nervous.

This wasn’t good enough for mobile advertising technology firm, xAd. So, the company introduced Blueprint earlier this month with the goal of giving marketers peace of mind that their online advertising was driving in-store revenue. Blueprint has mapped the physical dimensions of over 12,000,000 U.S. stores and is using that data along with USPS data to create a visual mapping algorithm that determines when people are actually in a store instead of simply being on the street in front of it. This is especially important since most businesses are set back from the street and some as much as 100 yards. Think Costco and Walmart. 

Not to be intimidated by the new technology, Google’s Director of Product Management for Mobile Search Ads, Surojit Chatterjee, clarified why we should trust the company’s in-store visits metric. During his address at the HeroConf in Portland, OR, Chatterjee stated that the metric is not just an estimate, but it is a very accurate measurement based on the following data sets:

  • Google Maps Street View and Google Earth Data
  • The strength of a businesses wi-fi
  • User’s Google queries
  • Visitor/Visit behaviour
  • Mapped coordinates and boundaries of hundreds of millions of stores globally
  • On ground location history of over 1,000,000 opted-in users

Chatteree finished by saying, “We are extremely accurate when we show the data,” he added, “This isn’t a user survey”.


At HeroConf this week? So are we! John Lee, Amy Bishop, and Robert Brady will be in attendance so when you see them, go say hello!