Last updated on May 10th, 2018 at 04:35 pm

One of the very few things that often frustrate marketers based in New Zealand is the delay in roll-out of many advanced products. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and others either use our market as a test ground for their developments, or leave us at the very bottom of the roll-out schedules. Here at NZDMI we’re in a lucky position to be working with companies across the globe, giving us access to most of those solutions and allowing us to jump on board almost immediately when they become available in New Zealand. We were among the first agencies to use Google Shopping or store visit tracking in Australia; our clients have been testing visual link extensions for months now and our Data Studio templates are now being implemented across the globe.

Recently Facebook and Google have been releasing many new features which will connect you with your customers better or will allow for closing the online-to-offline tracking loop. Even though those aren’t available in New Zealand yet, there are a few steps you can take now to prepare for them.

Google My Business Chat

Google My Business ChatGoogle has been relentlessly trying to find a good use for Google+ from a personal and business perspective and the push and expansion of Google My Business functionality might deliver just that. The recently launched Posts are now widely used online, with many local businesses sharing their events, promotions and local updates through this solution.

Now Google have started to test a chat feature, which will allow your customers to connect with your support directly from the search results. This feature is only available in selected countries at the moment, but will be positioned as an alternative to Facebook Messenger, which is being used by brands more and more often as a customer service solution.

Google has provided some guidelines on how to make the best use of the GMB Chat feature, so you might as well bookmark it for future reference.

What can you do now?

Make sure your Google My Business listing is up to date. It should include all your locations, good quality photos, contact details, opening hours and all other little pieces of information users on-the-go expect to find. Many of them won’t visit your website, so GMB provides an opportunity to engage them directly within the search results page.

Start using Posts, if you haven’t already, and track their performance in both the GMB dashboard and Analytics. This will be a good indication on whether your customers are paying attention to what’s included in your GMB listing.

AdWords Store Visit Tracking

We’ve been using Store Visit tracking for AdWords in Australia for a few months now and have to admit the initial excitement of having access to this feature worn off relatively quickly.

First, you should fully understand how the store visit tracking works, as Google themselves admit it has questionable accuracy. With only a small portion of the visits being reported in relation to users’ actual location, the estimate which makes up the rest of it, creates some highly inaccurate data. Our client’s reporting showed ‘visits’ in locations where they don’t have physical stores, meaning the data had to be carefully cleaned and marked as an ‘estimate’ only.

The second issue that is rather disappointing, is the level of reporting itself. Google doesn’t allow for the data to be broken down by store location – which means you don’t know which of your businesses those hypothetical visits have been sent to. Instead, all reporting is based on user-data, like their location. This isn’t hugely helpful if you are trying to allocate AdWords budget on location-level and tie it in with non-digital KPIs.

I am expecting that with Google’s drive to take on more revenue from traditional channels, this type of reporting is something they will be improving and expanding on in the future. For now, it’s more of an anecdotal gimmick, than a hugely valuable asset.

What can you do for now?

If connecting online research with offline purchase is something you are keen on, you should make sure that business locations from your GMB account are all correct and linked to your AdWords account. You might have done that already when setting up Location extensions, but a refresh and triple-check of the setups will do you no harm.

Facebook Store Visit Tracking

With Google rolling out their Store Visit tracking, Facebook wasn’t far behind announcing the same type of solution. This again isn’t fully available to advertisers yet, with one of our clients being tentatively accepted for the trial roll-out, but Facebook’s interface certainly is ready for it!

Facebook store visit tracking

For now, if you select Store Visits as your campaign objective, Facebook will automatically default it to Reach, informing you that Your campaign will be optimised for daily unique reach. Store Visits optimisation and reporting isn’t available for your business yet. When will that change? In 2017 we were told, so the countdown is on.

Given Facebook’s access to mobile users, I am quite excited about this one – and quietly hoping it will be something better than what Google offers, even if they are also using estimates in their reporting.  Having the option to breakdown your reporting by Business Location should provide some insight.

What can you do for now?

Similarly to GMB, make sure all your locations are loaded to Facebook and associated with your Business Page. Start testing the Daily Reach campaigns and work with your individual locations on setting up KPIs to track the in-store traffic uplift. Finally – look at connecting your Facebook data with your loyalty program and bring in the LCV (Lifetime Customer Value) metrics into your data.