By: Ken Freel

Anyone in the marketing business knows the importance of tracking return on investment (ROI) or advertising spend (ROAS) cannot be understated. There is simply no metric in the marketing acronym alphabet soup that commands the same respect, and for good reason.

When the smart phone and tablet market expanded, users began using the Internet and interacting with brands on numerous different devices. Cross-platform analytics become increasingly available, but marketers are now facing a new challenge. The United States Census Bureau reported that as few as 7% of the tractions made in 2014 were done online. With trillions of dollars being spent in physical store locations, leaving little to no digital footprint, how can the impact of our digital marketing dollars be accurately tracked?

As usual, Google was eager to meet this demand. Estimated total conversions was introduced this year to AdWords, which gave PPC specialists a much better idea of how their campaigns were actions across devices and offline.

This metric uses historical data to estimate the number of transactions or conversions that were statistically likely to occur through retail purchases, untracked calls, etc.

Google is also rolling out a program to use data from iPhone and Android users with location services to begin tracking visits to brick and motor locations. This will be accomplished by “geofences” around store locations to track when users go into stores.

With over 90% of sales occurring offline, digital marketers need to remain cognizant of the fact offline metrics are the future. Taking advantage of new tools and tracking the real world effects of digital campaigns are the only ways to remain competitive going into the new year.