So, you’re here because you want to closely track and follow one of the ways that customers interact with your business. That is, through offline conversions. A lot of businesses seem to shun this metric due to the online-dominated scene that we live in nowadays.
However, without it, one cannot get the full image of their performance. They can also miss out on some good opportunities to optimise their Google Ads campaigns if they don’t track their conversions offline.
Luckily for you, our focus today is going to be on how you can use offline conversion tracking on Google Ads. We’ll also delve into how you optimise your offline conversion tracking, an essential step that many businesses overlook. Keep reading for more.
Google ads offline conversions – What are they?
An offline conversion, as the name suggests, is any form of action taken by a member of your target audience upon receiving a marketing message. The latter can come in the form of a marketing email, an online ad, or a visit to your website.
Actions that people deem to be offline conversions include, but are not limited to:
- Enquiring about something through live chat
- Making a phone call
- Attending a meeting
- Visiting a physical store
- Buying something from a physical store
- Showing up to an event or conference hosted by you
Online conversions on the other hand can include newsletter signups, video plays, website purchases, and any other customer actions that can easily be tracked online.
Now, as we’ve mentioned, there are other conversion actions that people can take, but the ones above are the most common ones.
So, how does it work?
Offline conversion tracking in Google Ads is a powerful solution that allows marketers to import conversions from other tools such as their CRM.
Such tracking basically allows you to truly see which Google Ads campaign of yours is most effective at driving offline leads and sales.
In essence, Google Ads allows users to track their offline conversions in two ways:
- They can directly import offline conversions into their Google Ads
- To track conversions from calls
Importing offline conversion data in Google ads
When someone clicks on one of your ads, Google will generate a unique Google Click ID for them, also known as the GCLID. And once they complete a form or something similar on your website, their details (name, email address, and/or phone number) are then passed onto your CRM, and attached to their GCLID.
These bits of data will also be passed to your Google Analytics account. You can then get it from there and use it in preparation for uploading your offline conversions. But in order for this to go smoothly, we recommend sticking to a lead management system, aka a CRM instead.
However, for offline actions, you then have to upload the data to Google Ads using a spreadsheet or a simple file transfer. Not only can you upload the offline conversions themselves, but also the campaigns, ads, and the keywords attached to them.
Let’s say you’re running a printing business, and you offer business cards for other small businesses in the area. If a person clicks on your ad and finds themselves on your landing page, they can fill out a form and then visit your business in-store. Once they do that, their GCLID will be captured and stored in your CRM with all the related information.
After that, this visitor can come into your office and discuss a potential sale of whatever product or service you might be offering, in this case, printable promotional products.
Once they do that, you match this person to their contact in your CRM, and what’s done is done.
But now the question is, how do you go about setting up your offline conversion goals in Google Ads?
Setting up offline conversion goals in Google ads
- The first step in this process is to open your Google Ads account, click on Tools & Settings, then just under Measurement, click on Conversions
- After that, click on the blue + New Conversion Action button
- You’ll then be presented with a few options. Click on Import
- Here, you’ll be asked to choose from four different options. In this example, we’re going to go with Other Data Sources. We’ll then pick “Tracking conversions from clicks” for our example. Don’t worry. We’ll also deal with call conversions in a moment, too, if you’re interested in them
- Give your conversion action a name. You’d want to go with something precise and memorable
- Now, you’ll be asked by Google to assign a value to measure the performance of your offline advertising. You have three options here: Use the same value for each conversion, use different values for each conversion, and don’t use a value for this conversion action. Check out our FAQs section for an explanation of what these value options mean
- Next up, you’re going to have to select how many conversions to count per click or interaction. Here, you’ll have to choose between Every or One. If you’re selling products, then we recommend going with the first option. However, if you’re looking to drive leads, then you’re better off with the second option. This is because you’re not going to get twice the value if someone fills out a form twice
- For this step, you’ll have to choose the time window for your click-through conversion. You’ll find 30 days selected by default, but you can go up to 90 days if you wish so. What you go with will depend on your business model as well as the average length of your sales cycle
- Here, you’ll need to set your attribution model. An attribution model is a rule or set of rules that determine the credit for conversions and sales. Google has the following attribution models to choose from: Data-driven, first click, last click, linear, time decay and position-based
And now that you have successfully set up your offline conversion action, it’s now time to import your conversion data.
Importing offline conversions into Google ads
Once your offline conversion action is properly set up, you will need to do the following steps to import your data:
- First off, under Measurement, click on Conversions
- You will see a menu on the left. Click on Uploads
- Click on the plus button and then on View templates
- There, look for templates for Conversions from clicks and select a template format to download
- When uploading your conversion data, you’ll need to consider a few ground rules by Google. For instance, if the conversions you imported are within one day of the click, Google Ads might fail to record them. If you want a more detailed version of how to configure your template, make sure to check Google’s own guide
- Once you’ve set up your template, simply head back to Google Ads and select Source
- Here, you can decide whether to manually upload your data file or to create a schedule to regularly upload online files. For example, you can set up a Google Sheet that gets regularly uploaded
And you’re done! If set up properly, you will be able to see your offline conversions in Google Ads alongside the traditional online metrics.
Call tracking in Google ads
Google Ads also allows you to track calls as conversions. We have already dealt with this in a separate blog post. Make sure to check it out.
Yes, Google Ads offline conversion tracking does make it possible for marketers to give true value to their campaigns. It also allows them to link their offline conversions with their respective ads and keywords. However, offline conversion is nowhere near perfect.
Quality of leads
Call conversions, for instance, are triggered based on minimum call duration. In other words, Google has no way of determining the quality of these calls/leads. Moreover, when an individual calls your business using a Google forwarding number, it automatically gets counted as a lead.
The problem that presents itself here is the fact that there is no way of determining the quality of your leads. Having numbers come in and calling it a success isn’t right. Indeed, any serious business owner would want quality figures about how their business is performing.
This is the same for other kinds of offline conversion actions if not done right.
A solution to this limitation is the closed-loop attribution. It helps to connect your closed revenue to your marketing channels, campaigns, and keywords. This allows you to produce a more accurate ROI (return on investment) for offline conversions, primarily phone calls.
Google ads exclusive
Tracking calls is limited to Google Ads only. In other words, if you have calls generated by a different source, such as social media or organic ranking, you will be unable to track the contributions of your ads.
This is rather problematic because most businesses use Google Ads as part of a bigger marketing initiative.