We all live in comfort zones, whether we’re an online cutting edge business or a massive retail giant, it’s easy to fall into a habit that this works and that doesn’t. IT’s also easy to be complacent about the direction of things and the market. A relief for retailers with physical locations seems to have come from an unexpected source. Google Adwords.

New data from analytics firm RapidBlue and reported by VentureBeat and Inc.com suggests that measuring only the online response of online advertising might be a mistake. They’ve measured a real relationship between stores running adwords campaigns and more cutomers in the store and more time spent.

From Inc.coms report

The company said that it found a significant correlation: when brick-and-mortar stores ran Google Adwords PPC campaigns, they saw double-digit increases in the number of shoppers and in the time people spent in retail stores. In some cases, apparently, the offline results of the campaigns exceeded the online results.

This creates both a problem and an opportunity for both marketers and for retail space owners. The question “Is PPC or SEO worth it?” now seems moot for retail. The question is now how to you measure the added contribution of online advertising to offline sales and how great is that contribution compared to traditional advertising.

Every business really wants to know exactly what it gets in return for dollars spent and Digital and Online marketing have traditionally been the most measurable of the various forms of advertising and marketing spend in terms of return on investment. Now it seems we may have been underestimating the affect of internet marketing on offline sales and therefore that we have been underestimating the value and return on investment from Google PPC ads as well as the various alternative online platforms. On the flip side this necessarily means that traditional advertising mediums are getting some of the credit they don’t deserve. Meaning that the ROI on traditional advertising might not be what it’s supposed to be either.

It will take a lot of testing across a lot of different retail spaces and types in order to get real significant statistics that can be used across industry by marketers. For now though it seems safe to say that if you’re measuring your Google adwords campaign only by direct response you’re probably underestimating it’s value.

2 Responses to “Why online advertising (adwords and ppc) might be VITAL for your OFFLINE business”

  1. Sam Kidd says:

    It’s an interesting story and echoes a lot of how I have been feeling about online ads and marketing recently.
    Again a lot of the time it’s about getting your face and name out there. As much as we would all love to be able to always see direct links between spend on ads to direct sales. Most of the time you have to keep an eye on the overall performance of the company and sales.

  2. Anton Mannering says:

    Absolutely Sam! Unfortunately poor business acumen and an aversion to online marketing amongst Marketing Managers means that some businesses constantly look to short change the online marketing team with credit and resources. It’s a shame really as it’s cutting off your nose to spite your face in it’s most literal sense.
    Perhaps testing real world response, before and after online campaigns are started, should be a standard online marketing practice?

    1) What are the sales figures now?
    2) What are the changes in marketing that need to be accounted for (online or offline)?
    3) What are the sales figures during and after those changes?
    4) Recognise that increases in sales rarely happen magically by themselves. So if you’re not doing any offline marketing and offline sales are increasing then it’s probably a good idea to look at what else is happening.

    Compartmentalising them into online sales and offline sales can be useful but it does tend to compartmentalise the business and it seems, at least, that that’s not always a good idea.

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