More than ever before, Google wants to help shoppers navigate the wretched non-holiday known as Black Friday. Today, the online Santa of search is showing when and where people head for doorbusters. Pulling aggregated, anonymized data from Google Maps users, the company is revealing for the first time traffic insights for various retailers in the month leading up to Christmas Eve.
The data isn't just relevant to shoppers. Understanding peak traffic for shopping malls, department stores, electronic stores, cellphone stores, discount stores and dollar stores could help marketers better reach consumers when they're keenest to buy.
Google also announced today it would provide a more detailed view of offline measurement by giving advertisers the ability to break out store visits at a keyword or ad-group level.
"By reviewing data at this level, advertisers can understand which keywords or ad groups drive the most store visits," according to a Google blog post. "For example, a toy store may learn that certain dolls or action figures bring in the most visitors. With this insight, that toy store might invest in search terms that drive both online and offline sales, and display those products at the front of their store."
Here are a few key insights from Google's foot-traffic analysis:
- Store traffic peaks between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Black Friday, with Thanksgiving Day department store visitors peaking between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Shopping malls, superstores and discount stores experience the highest traffic on the Saturday before Christmas.
- Dollar stores are busiest on Christmas Eve. (Stocking stuffers, anyone?)
An infographic created by Google shows how business ebbs and flows from Thanksgiving Day to when shoppers finally drop off. It also shows how the three busiest days of the year compare with other weekends during the holiday season.