Google-Sponsored Study Claims Digital Ads Drive Offline Sales | Adweek Google-Sponsored Study Claims Digital Ads Drive Offline Sales | Adweek
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Digital Ads IRL

If a product can be researched online, ads there may drive offline sales
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The value of a paid search ad for online sales is not an easy thing to calculate. The value translated into actual, real life in-store sales is even trickier. Meanwhile, typical metrics for measuring success of display ads are of clicks or conversions to online sales, not sales at bricks-and-mortar outlets.

But that value is exactly what leaders in paid search need in order to win digital ad dollars threatened by the likes of location, social, and coupon categories. A recent study conducted by Google, HP, and ad software company Applied Predictive Technologies claims to have used regional targeting to demonstrate that search campaigns can translate directly to sales at bricks-and-mortar stores.

Over the course of several months, Google ran co-branded ads for HP and a computer product partner, broken down by geographic region. HP then compared sales of that computer line in the regions tested against regions that had not received the targeted search ads. The result? A 530 percent return on the cost of the advertising. Higher-end products placed in more prominent search results experienced an even higher boost in regions targeted by the search ads.

APT has conducted approximately a dozen such campaigns in partnership with Google and retailers, to varied results. Regionally targeted digital campaigns don’t translate to sales for every type of product, said Jonathan Marek, svp of APT. “You want products consumers are researching online and interested in buying in-store,” he said. “If it’s not a product that gets researched online, or if they always complete the purchase online, there’s no visible effect.”