Driving store visits and in-store sales via Facebook Store Visit campaigns | Articles

Nowadays we notice that people research more and more products and business locations on their mobile phones. As sales still happen mostly in stores, retailers find it crucial to run campaigns driving store visits, meaning that they need to push people close by to come to their store and make a physical purchase.

What are store visits objective campaigns?

On Facebook, we can run campaigns with the objective ‘Store Visits’. This type of campaign lets us create dynamic local ads for many store locations in order to drive store visits and in-store sales.
We can target people that are in a certain distance from the stores, showing them ads that help them go to, or contact, the closest location. 

A step-by-step guide to put in place your campaign

One of the first points of attention is to select the campaign objective ‘Store Visits’. For example, our client had a promotion for which 250 out of its 800 shops were participating. If you select another objective, be ready to create an ad set per location as you would have to add manually in each ad set the location of each shop. The objective ‘Store Visits’ targets automatically the chosen shops and we avoid such manual work.  Also, without the Store Visits objective campaign, we would have missed out several useful features that will be mentioned below.

How did we set up the campaign?

  1. It is important to ensure all information regarding your stores are correctly set up. Here I am talking about your Facebook Business Locations in your Business Manager. It’s highly recommended to have a local page per business location. You need to connect all of your local pages to your main page in the locations tool. The stores that need to be promoted need of course to be present. The addresses, postal codes, etc must be correctly put in place. It’s best to also have all locations in an Excel file where you can see the names of the shops, the addresses and postal codes. You’ll understand the need of it in the next steps.
  2. To set up Store visit campaigns:
    • Choose the ‘Store Visits’ objective
      Driving store visits via Facebook 1
    • Create an ad set
      You’ll basically need to have one ad set per creative. In case part of the shops have promotion A and part of the shops have promotion B, then you will need to create two ad sets: one ad set promotion A and one ad set promotion B.
    • In your locations targeting choose ‘Business Locations’ and ‘Edit business locations’.
      Driving store visits via Facebook 2Here is the amazing thing: simply choose the option of ‘add locations in bulk’, paste your postal codes (from the Excel mentioned in step 1) and Facebook will automatically add the corresponding shops to your ad set.
      Note that you can only run a store visits campaign in one country per ad set.
    • It is important to check that the amount of shops selected corresponds to the amount of postal codes you had. Indeed several shops can be located within the same postal code area. If it doesn’t correspond, you can see per city how many shops have been added. You can delete there the shops that aren’t supposed to be sponsored by clicking on the cross.
      Driving store visits via Facebook 3
    • Choose a radius option to determine how far from each shop the ads can be shown to people. There are two options: by distance from location and by audience size. The radius by audience size ensures that a certain amount of people is reached, without taking into account the population density. For our client’s campaign, we chose the distance from location as many of the shops are quite close to each other and we wanted to target people that are close to the shops.
      Driving store visits via Facebook 4
  3. Create your ad
    All ad formats (Carousel, Link ad, Video) are available.
    • You can add your creative(s) and, in the case of Carousel, you can choose to add a map as an ‘extra’ creative. This map shows your nearest business locations with details such as business hours and directions.
      Driving store visits via Facebook 5
    • Another wonderful thing is that the text above the creative can dynamically adapt for each location. Simply write what you want and add ‘Page Field’ for the informations you want dynamic. An example below:
      Driving store visits via Facebook 6                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This means that if the user is near your shop in San Francisco, he will not only have the page location of San Francisco that is promoted but he will also see the exact address, postal code and city of that nearest shop.
    • CTAs available are ‘get directions’, ‘call now’ and ‘send message’.
      ‘Get Directions’ seems to be the most suitable for Store Visit Campaigns.

Whitelisting Options

If possible, it would be very interesting to be whitelisted in order to be able to use the ‘store visits optimization’ and ‘store visits reporting’ as those options are still in beta. The whitelisting is thus necessary as the accesses to this optimization and these reports are closed. For this, you need to contact your Google Account Manager and ask to be whitelisted. These types of campaigns are emerging thanks to the fact that store visits are now measurable. We can now link people who click on the ads and then visit one of the company’s shops. We therefore measure the number of visits in a shop generated by the Facebook campaigns. In order to understand more about store visits, the article ‘Store Visits & Offline Conversions’ is very useful.

Store Visits Optimization

The optimization by default of the campaign is ‘reach’ which means that it is optimizing for daily unique impressions. The ‘store visits’ optimization would optimize for lowest cost per store visit by showing the ads to people who are likely to come to your store. Worth testing!

Store Visits Reporting

The ‘store visits reporting’ whitelisting would enable us to have the metrics ‘store visits’ and ‘cost per store visits’. These metrics indicate how many people actually physically went to the store after having paid attention to or clicked on your ad, based on extrapolated GPS and Facebook check-in data. Even with those metrics, advertisers will not know the exact number of people who actually went to their stores after seeing the ad. Indeed users needs to have enabled the ‘location tracking’ in their Facebook app. However the metrics give at least a good estimate of advertising impact. If you’re not whitelisted, the most interesting metrics to evaluate your campaigns would be reach, impressions and CPM.

Conclusion & Further thoughts

It is much faster than one would think to create campaigns that sponsor local shops even if you’ve hundreds of them. This of course is the case if you have one common budget for all locations. If each shop has its specific budget, then it’s best to have an ad set per shop in order to have control over it. We would advise then to start constructing ad sets for the most important shops and then add them little by little over time. Building store visits campaigns let you drive store visits and in-store sales through ads that are dynamically adapted. We are more and more closing the gap between offline and online sales, and we’re expecting much more to come. 

publication author anne mathieu
Anne Mathieu

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