Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Ads: A Step-by-Step Guide



Sep 18, 2023


min read

In the interconnected world of digital marketing, understanding the full customer journey is crucial. This journey often crosses the boundaries between online and offline interactions, hence the importance of offline conversion tracking in Google Ads.

Offline conversion tracking provides a means to track when sales and other valuable customer actions occur offline after an ad click or view. This method offers a goldmine of untapped insights into the efficacy of your Google Ads.

By integrating online and offline sales, businesses can achieve a more holistic view of their marketing efforts. This comprehensive perspective allows brands to trace the impact of their digital advertising on real-world actions, like in-store purchases or phone calls, leading to more refined strategies and increased return on ad spend (ROAS).

What Are the Key Terms Involved With Offline Conversion Tracking?

To effectively leverage offline conversion tracking, it's vital to understand a few key terms. These include:

• Customer relationship management (CRM) systems: CRM systems play a pivotal role in offline conversion tracking. These systems can capture Google Click Identifiers (GCLID) when a user visits a site after clicking on an ad. Salesforce, which is the most commonly used CRM, directly integrates with Google Ads and allows pipeline lead stages to be imported to Google Ads as conversions. Hubspot, too, has a direct integration with Google Ads.

• Google Click ID (GCLID): A Google Click ID is a unique string of numbers and letters that Google assigns to each ad click. It's a critical piece of the puzzle, as it links ad clicks to offline conversions.

• Conversion actions: Conversion actions are the specific customer activities that are valuable to your business, such as making a purchase, filling out a form, or making a phone call. Defining the right conversion actions is crucial for your Google Ads accountoptimization.

Conversion value, on the other hand, is the monetary worth assigned to these conversion actions. Understanding conversion value allows businesses to measure and optimize the return on their ad spend effectively.

Attribution models play a significant role in optimizing a Google Ads account. By assigning credit to different touchpoints in a customer's journey, attribution helps marketers understand which ads, keywords, and campaigns are driving offline conversions.

How Do You Get Started With Offline Conversion Tracking?

Embarking on your journey with offline conversion tracking may seem daunting, but fear not. The first step involves setting up auto-tagging in your Google Ads account.

Auto-tagging is an essential tool that attaches a unique GCLID to each user's click on your ad. This GCLID then helps track the user's journey from the ad click to the offline conversion.

Once auto-tagging is in place, it's time to introduce Google Ads offline conversion. This tool allows you to import offline conversion events (more on those later) tied to the GCLIDs gathered by your CRM or other systems.

Setting up Google Ads offline conversion effectively bridges the gap between online ad clicks and offline customer actions, providing a more holistic view of your marketing success.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Set Up Offline Conversion

Create a New Conversion Action

Your offline conversion journey begins in your Google Ads account. Create a new conversion action dedicated to tracking offline events. This will provide a basis for importing your offline conversion data.

Set Up Conversion Name and Conversion Window

Choose a descriptive conversion name that encapsulates the offline action you're tracking (e.g., “in-store purchases”). Conversely, the conversion window specifies the time frame during which interactions can be counted as conversions. Set this based on your customer's typical journey duration.

Use Google Tag Manager To Track Ad Click

Google Tag Manager is a fantastic tool for managing and deploying marketing tags on your website without editing code. Utilize this tool to track ad clicks, as this data is crucial to linking your online ads to offline conversions.

Manage Offline Conversion Data Using Google Sheets

Google Sheets can be a valuable asset in managing your offline conversion data. It offers a flexible, easily accessible platform to compile your conversion data before importing it to Google Ads. Additionally, connecting other data sources, like your CRM, provides a more holistic view of your customer interactions.

Set Parameters for Tracking Phone Number and Form Submission

By using parameters, you can track specific details about your offline conversions, such as phone numbers or form submissions. This additional data offers insights into the nature of your offline conversions and can help you optimize future campaigns.

Use APIs and Various Tools in Offline Conversion Tracking

Application Programming Interface (APIs), alongside tools like Salesforce and Microsoft, can automate and streamline the process of offline conversion tracking. These tools can communicate with Google Ads to transfer offline conversion data, reducing manual input and increasing efficiency.

Upload Offline Conversion Data via CSV

Once you've compiled your offline conversion data, it's time to import it to Google Ads. This can be done via a CSV (comma-separated values) file, which should include key details like GCLID, conversion name, conversion time, and any associated conversion values.

Set Up Call Conversions and Call Tracking

Call conversions are an essential component of offline conversion tracking for many businesses. Set up call tracking to capture the GCLID associated with the initial ad click, ensuring the link between the online interaction and offline call conversion is maintained.

Embrace Enhanced Conversions

Enhanced conversions provide a more accurate count of conversions by using first-party data to fill in gaps where a GCLID might not be available. This tool can significantly improve the precision of your conversion tracking, leading to more effective optimization and increased ROI.

How Do You Track Offline Sales From Different Channels?

In an increasingly interconnected world, businesses are finding value in online conversions andoffline sales. Tracking these offline conversions is crucial in understanding your customer's journey and measuring the full value of your advertising efforts.

Let's explore how you can track offline sales from a few different channels:

• Tracking Phone Call Sales: Phone calls can be a potent source of conversions. Using Google Ads, you can track calls from ads, calls to a phone number on your website, and clicks on a number on your mobile website. By leveraging a Google forwarding number and setting up call tracking, you can record phone calls as conversions.

• Tracking In-Store Sales: Bridging the gap between digital ads and in-store sales can seem challenging, but Google Ads offline conversion tracking can help. You can use the Store Visitsconversion action to track when people visit your physical locations after interacting with your ads.

• Tracking Offline Sales Through LinkedIn: LinkedIn, as a professional network, offers unique opportunities for B2B marketers. LinkedIn's Offline Conversions tool enables you to track when LinkedInad clicks or impressions lead to offline conversions in your CRM, like Salesforce.

It’s important to note that customer data, such as phone numbers or emails captured from lead forms, is critical to tracking offline conversions. A qualified lead, who has shown interest in your products or services and has provided contact information, becomes an essential link in the offline conversion chain.

How Do You Leverage Google Ads Campaigns for Offline Conversion?

Google Ads campaigns can play a pivotal role in driving offline conversions. Here's how.

Ad Spend and Bidding Strategies

Ad spend and bidding strategies directly impact your visibility in the digital space and, therefore, the number of ad clicks you receive. By strategically allocating your ad spend and optimizing your bidding strategies, you can drive more user clicks and potentially increase offline conversions. Keep in mind that the effectiveness of your strategies should be evaluated based on both online and offline conversion data.

Landing PageOptimization

The landing page you direct your ad clicks to is also crucial. An optimized landing page can captivate your audience, provide crucial information, and push potential customers further down the sales funnel, eventually leading to offline sales.

Ensure that your landing page is aligned with the customer's expectation from the ad and provides a seamless transition to offline interactions.

Combine Online and Offline Conversion Actions

Online conversions, such as form submissions, can often lead to offline actions like phone calls or store visits. Therefore, tracking both online and offline conversions gives a more holistic view of the customer journey and the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.

Machine Learning

Machine learning can help optimize offline conversions by analyzing patterns in your conversion data, predicting future outcomes, and making bid adjustments to maximize conversions.

Enhanced conversions, a feature in Google Ads, uses machine learning to improve the accuracy of your conversion tracking, bridging the gap between online clicks and offline conversions.

How Do You Implement Offline Conversion Imports and Conversion Events?

Offline conversion imports bring to light the impact of your Google Ads on offline business results.

To set up offline conversion imports, you need to:

1. Ensure that auto-tagging is turned on to capture the GCLID.

2. Within your CRM or other data sources, record the GCLID along with the corresponding offline conversion.

3. Prepare a CSV file with necessary details such as GCLID, conversion name, conversion time, and, optionally, conversion value.

4. Import this data into Google Ads for matching and analysis.

Understanding conversion events is crucial to optimizing your ad spending. Conversion events are actions that users take which are valuable for your business. These events can be online, like a purchase on your ecommerce site, or offline, like a store visit. By identifying and tracking these events in your Google Ads account, you can understand how your ads are driving these valuable actions.

Lead forms, often found on landing pages, play a critical role in conversion events. When a user fills out a lead form, this action can be tracked as a conversion event. Moreover, the data collected from the form can be used to connect with the user offline, potentially leading to an offline conversion. Therefore, optimizing your lead forms can be a significant step in boosting your offline conversions.

What Are Metrics and Conversion Rate?

A successful offline conversion tracking process is highly dependent on metrics. They provide you with insights into the performance of your offline conversion events and show you areas for improvement. These can be anything from the number of calls received from Google Ads to the number of in-store purchases made after clicking an ad.

Conversion rate, a significant metric, is the percentage of ad clicks that lead to successful conversions. It's calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of total ad interactions that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period, then multiplying that figure by 100%.

To optimize your conversion rate, you must continually refine your marketing efforts. This could involve tweaking your bidding strategies, optimizing your landing pages, or adjusting your targeting settings. It's all about identifying what works best for your business and doing more of it.

Is Conversion Tracking Only Available With Google Ads?

In the world of pay-per-click (PPC) marketing and ecommerce, various advanced tools can aid in your offline conversion tracking endeavors. Google Analytics, for instance, offers comprehensive insights into user behavior that can be instrumental in refining your offline conversion strategies.

Google Ads' offline conversion feature can provide a granular view of how your ad campaigns lead to store visits. This is crucial as it bridges the gap between online advertising and offline sales, providing a clearer picture of your overall campaign effectiveness.

Finally, understanding the attribution model in offline conversion is key. The attribution model determines how much credit each click gets for your conversions. It's a vital part of analyzing your ad performance because it can affect your return on investment (ROI).

Different attribution models can be used depending on your business goals and the customer journey. Hence, mastering attribution models can help you allocate your ad spend more efficiently and optimize your bidding strategies for better results.

The Bottom Line

The importance of offline conversion tracking in Google Ads cannot be overstated. Businesses can gain a more comprehensive view of their marketing impact by linking online ad interactions with offline customer actions. This understanding offers continuous optimization and testing opportunities, leading to more effective campaigns and improved ROI.

As you venture into offline conversion tracking, remember that each step taken is a step towards a more successful and scalable brand. The insights gleaned from offline conversions can help refine your strategies, personalize customer experiences, and ultimately drive your brand's growth in the competitive digital landscape. If you’re looking for additional support for your marketing campaign, it might be worth hiring an SEO agency.

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The Seven Steps of Customer Purchase Journey Mapping | Rutgers University

It’s Time To Pay Attention To Offline Conversion Tracking | Forbes

ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) | Corporate Finance Institute

What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)? | Tech Target

Google Click Identifier (GCLID): Definition | Google Support

Conversion Action: Definition | Google Support

About Conversion Values | Google Support

About Attribution Models | Google Support

About Auto-Tagging | Google Support

Website Tag Management Tools & Solutions | Google Tag Manager

What You Can Do With Sheets | Google Workspace Learning Center

What Is an API (Application Programming Interface)? | Tech Target

CSV File: Definition | Google Support

About Phone Call Conversion Tracking | Google Support

About Enhanced Conversions | Google Support

Conversion Event | Google Support

About Lead Form Assets | Google Support

What Is Conversion Rate & How Do You Calculate It | Search Engine Journal

PPC Advertising: The Ultimate Guide | Forbes Advisor

Return on Investment (ROI): How to Calculate It and What It Means | Investopedia


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