Google is currently beta-testing ‘offer extensions’ in its ads, a feature that allows advertisers to place a link within their ads, directing users straight to a page containing information about offers that can be redeemed either online or offline.

Advertisers can include information about the offer within the ad alongside the link to try and entice people to click on the link and view more information about the deal.

The most interesting thing about the feature is that the offers can be redeemed online in the form of a voucher code (or something similar), or alternatively can be printed out in the form of a physical voucher for use in store.

If the advertiser chooses the offline redemption option, the potential customer who clicks on the ad will be taken to a page that is hosted by Google, where they will be able to print out the voucher or save the page in the ‘my offers’ section of their Google account to print out at a later date.

If the advertiser chooses the online redemption method, the customer will be taken to a page on the advertisers site outlining the offer and giving them details of how to redeem it online.

Google has recognised advertisers frustrations about not being able to track footfall from PPC traffic and this feature is its latest attempt to give its advertisers an insight into how the two correlate.

We find that a lot of our e-commerce clients that also have shops often find it very difficult to measure the affect of PPC on in store sales. This new feature will give them the option to get an insight into the amount of people that clicked on their ads but and end up making a purchase in store.

Obviously this is not a fool proof solution and is likely to encourage more footfall in stores for those advertisers that choose the offline redemption method. Therefore the feature will not give an accurate portrayal of how many genuine people simply click on an ad and then go in store to purchase the product instead of purchasing online.

However it will give them a better idea of the number of people that are seeing the ads and provide in store staff with the opportunity to question any customers using the vouchers about their online activity. i.e. why have they chosen to visit the store instead of purchasing online? (apart from just to get the discount).

It would also be more interesting if the vouchers that are used in store could be traced back to the exact click in someway, as then advertisers could see which users actually used their voucher in store, the value of their purchase and which keyword phrase they used to find the offer.

To find out more about offer extensions visit www.google.com/ads/innovations/offerextensions.