When you’re managing traditional brick-and-mortar retailers with a growing digital presence, the ultimate goal is to tie online efforts with in-store success metrics. As Google continues to roll out more ways to estimate in-store traffic, we are getting closer to finally being able to report on the value paid search spend has on driving in-store visits and revenue. One potential way that digital advertisers could do this would be through Google Maps’ new shareable lists feature.
Shareable Lists in Google Maps
Shareable lists in Google Maps is being rolled out on iOS and Android devices. While the lists feature is not new, users can now save their favourite places and share them with friends, family, or even the world. The lists provide directions, store ratings, and hours of operations, making this feature much more convenient for users when compared to texting or other forms of providing directions.
What does this mean for digital advertisers?
Currently, “the lists users create are not used for advertising purposes” according to Google’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Davidoff. However, the potential for shareable lists is huge. Once (or if) advertising becomes available in these lists, companies could potentially bid on competitor locations within a user’s list. For example, if you were a movie theater nearby and Google made you aware that a particular person was interested in visiting another theater in the area, you could then bid up to show as a similar location. Another interesting factor is that shareable lists could potentially lead to in-store attribution based on digital advertising spend. With users saving locations that were promoted through the lists and a little help from Google’s in-store estimation tools, we could have a better sense of how many people visited the location.
Potential bidding strategies
Like any other geo-strategy, we would want to make bid adjustments according to how the users behave around the locations. When someone is closer to the location and searching for something related, we could bid higher on these users since they would be more likely to visit. Also, dayparting would be helpful to only run these ads during store hours. Many of the existing Google AdWords features, such as location targeting, device segmentation, retargeting, and more could be integrated into serving these ads, similar to the already existing Google Map ads.
The potential is huge
Shareable lists have great potential to become an integral part of digital geo-strategies. By expanding on existing Google Map ads and allowing advertisers to focus on driving local in-store traffic, we could finally start to see the in-store performance and online spend become more closely related and measurable. While all of these ideas are just that – ideas – I would imagine that Google isn’t too far off in how they will expand digital advertising throughout the Google Map platform.