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How to use Google Offline Conversion Tracking to measure offline conversions from your Google Ads

By Hephzy Asaolu | No Comments | 8th May 2020

Google Offline Conversion Tracking is a powerful advertising tool that allows businesses to better track both offline sales generated from Google Ads and other important mid-funnel offline conversions such as phone calls, form submissions, downloads, and so on.

According to eMarketer, 58% of medium-sized businesses say that improving lead quality is a critical aspect of a lead generation strategy. Thus, every lead generation strategy should include searching for high-quality leads and converting them into loyal customers as shown below.

How to use google import conversions to track offline conversions

Improving the quality of your leads will help to improve the ROI of your ad campaigns.

But the question is: How do you improve the quality of your leads?

One answer is through better measurement. A good measurement strategy that includes both online to offline attribution tracking gives you quality leads. Conversions can range from page visited, Sign-ups, downloads, phone calls, form submissions, qualified leads, and closed deals.

The best way to measure all these is through the Google Offline Conversion Tracking tool (formerly, Offline Import Conversion).

Introducing Offline Conversion Tracking

What is Google Offline Conversion Tracking?

Google Offline Conversion Tracking is a tool that allows businesses to import conversions that are tracked in any other system (for example, the company’s CRM) into Google Ads, giving advertisers the ability to understand the quality of their leads according to the volume of sales generated, though the latter doesn’t occur online. Below is how the Google Offline Conversion Tracking tool works:

How Google Import Conversions Work

The first thing to do to use the Google Offline Conversion Tracking tool is to enable the auto-tagging feature in your Google Ads account. Once that is done, Google gives you a unique Google ClickID (GCLID) for every ad click.

When a user clicks on an ad that leads to your website and fills out a form while on your website, they become a lead for your business. You can store the GCLID with the lead information in your CRM platform. After closing the lead, you can extract the GCLIDs and the sales details or any other conversion action and upload it back to Google ads.

When you upload high-quality leads or sales into your Google Ads account, you can optimize it more by utilizing Google’s Smart bidding tools. This helps to improve the quality of your lead, reduce your CPA, and increase your profits.

Google Offline Conversion Tracking Use Cases

There are many businesses that can benefit from tracking offline conversions. For example, a car dealer might run several advertising campaigns to drive leads by signing up for a test-drive or to receive a quota concerning some specific car. The ads generate clicks and impressions that lead the user to purchase a car several weeks later via phone. This information is stored in the CRM and can only be leveraged to optimize campaigns if it is ‘pushed back’ to Google through Google Offline Conversion Tracking.   

The option to track offline conversions can help businesses also to understand what is the impact of their campaigns in order to better allocate their marketing budget based on the quality of the leads. 

For example, in the case of an online university having access to this type of closed-loop reporting is key to gain insight on which ones are performing and which are not. 

A University might run Google lead form extension campaigns to drive leads for its study programs by offering a free resource. A student might submit the form to download the resource and then a few days later gets in touch with the University with a phone call (or by visiting the University physically). In this case, it’s key for the University to track this conversion to surface higher visibility into the ROAS of its campaigns and optimize them based on the most cost-effective conversions. 

Another example is Get Ninjas, a Service Marketplace in Brazil used Google Offline Conversion Tracking to discover high-quality leads and then optimized it using the Target Return on Ad spend (TROAS) bidding strategy.

Google Offline Conversions Case Study

In their experience, it led to a 51% increase in overall profits, a 23% lower CPA and a 36% increase in conversion volumes.

Benefits of using Google Offline Conversion Tracking

1.   Google Offline Conversion Tracking gives advertisers a more detailed overview of successful keywords that result in sales. This information will help to better understand how to optimize campaigns and performances.

2.   Google Offline Conversion Tracking allows you to understand the quality of leads generated by a specific campaign and, consequently, improve ROAS by increasing their bids on the keywords that generate more revenue.

3.   Google Offline Conversion Tracking helps marketers evaluate targeting criteria. For example, you can measure and track offline sales based on time of the day it occurs or the geography. This will help you better distinguish the factors that produce the most cost-effective conversions.

4.   The data produced by Google Offline Conversion Tracking helps bridge the gap between Google Ads spend and conversions data that were not available before this tool.

What to track with Google Offline Conversion Tracking

Google Offline Conversion Tracking allows you to track conversions from an ad click, calls from your ads, and store visit conversions.

Conversions from clicks

When a prospect sees your Google Ad and clicks on it to visit your website, Google assigns a unique ID known as GCLID (Google Click Identifier) to help identify the click that comes from your ads to your website.

When prospects fill your web form, subscribe to your email list, or take any other actions on your website, the click ID is passed and stored in your database.

When the prospects purchase your product or service offline, you will upload the GCLID back to Google Ads with the conversion type and date it took place. Google Ads records the conversion together with other conversion tracking data as shown in the image above.

For example, if a real estate company uses Google Ads to drive prospects to its website, as visitors come, they fill forms and request for quotes. The leads that result from the clicks on the ads will have their details with the GCLID stored in the database.

The agents then follow up with the quotes and close deals. The agents review each week’s sales and compile the details (such as the GCLID, name, date, and time of purchase) of the prospects that convert into customers in a database (e.g. spreadsheet or CRM) and upload it into the company’s Google Ads account.

Within a few hours, the company can view the keywords and queries that generated the sales.

Conversions from calls

The call conversion options enable you to see when someone calls you through your ad, the phone number on your website or a click to call ad on the mobile.

Google Offline Conversion Tracking allows you to import call conversion details into Google Ads.

This helps you track the ads and keywords that are bringing in most sales calls for your business. You can track information about prospect’s phone calls that results in sales of products or services by importing it into Google Ads. Google will match the phone calls from your ads with the conversions.

With the results, you will know how to optimize your ad account for better conversion.

Store visit conversions

The store visit conversions help you to import online to offline attribution data into Google ads. This will help you know the number of people who visit your physical store to make purchases or other options difficult to track in Google Ads.

The store visit conversions are not open to all advertisers. However, it allows you to track the impact of clicks and impressions from your ads on the visits to your physical store.

Things you need to set up the Google Offline Conversion Tracking tool

To set up the Google Offline Conversion tool there are things you need to prepare such as: 

1.   Enable auto-tagging on your Google Ads account

2.   The client’s web developer can change the codes on all the web pages to help collect the GCLID code added to the URL of your ad.

3.   A CRM that can store a GCLID code

4.   Click to conversion cycle of less than 90 days

How to set up the online to offline attribution

Here you will learn how to set up the three types of conversions mentioned above i.e. conversion from clicks, phone calls (calls from ads and website) and store visits.

How to set up the conversion for clicks

The first thing you need is to create a new conversion action for conversions from clicks. This will help you to track offline sales that come from your ad clicks. Follow the steps below.

1. Enable auto-tagging: Log into your Google ads account, click on “settings”, and “account settings”. Click the “auto-tagging section” and enable “auto-tagging”. Check the box next to “tag the URL that people click through from my ad” and then click Save.

1. Auto tagging

2. On your Google ads account, click the “tools” Icon. Click on “Measurement” and under it, click on “conversions”.

2. select conversions

3. Click on “Import”, and select “Other sources or CRMs”. Then select “Track conversions from clicks

3. Track conversions from clicks

4. Type in the “name” of your conversion. The name you select should describe the conversion you want to track.

4. Assign a name to the conversion

5.   Click on the “category” to choose a suitable one for your conversion.

6.   Specify the conversion “value”. There are three options such as “Don’t assign value” if you don’t have a value, “use the same value for each conversion” if you want a static value and “Use different values for each conversion” if you are tracking different product purchases. Leave it as it is if you are not sure how much the sale or lead is worth to you.

7.   Choose the conversion “count” per click or conversion. It has two options. If you choose “one” you specify that Google Ads should only count a conversion per ad click. If you choose “Every”, it tells Google Ads to count a conversion every time a user buys your product/service or completes a conversion action.

8.   Choose the conversion “window”. You can choose anywhere from 7 to 90 days. It is advisable to use the full 90 days.

When you are done, click on “create and continue” to save the conversion. You need to wait for about 4 to 6 hours before you can upload your conversions. It will take up to 2 days to show the results.

Now, it is time to import your conversions. To do that follow the process below:

How to import conversions into Google Ads

Part 1: Add a “code” to your website

a) Add this code to every page of your website that needs tracking. The code should be at the end </body/> tag at the bottom of the page.

b) Add this second code to ensure that the GCLID cookie is read and sent to your lead capture system with other prospect’s details.

Now you need to go to your CRM or autoresponder to allow it to store the needed information. 

Part 2: Import your conversions from a file

1. Use the acceptable “format” (Excel, CSV or Google sheet). Google has templates for the files. Find it here. You can also access the templates in Google Ads by following the steps below:

a) Click the “tools” icon at the top right corner, click on “management” and then click on “conversions”.

b) Click on “uploads” and the “plus” icon. Then click on “Templates and conversion from clicks” to download and use it.

2. Use the template you downloaded to create your own. When you are done, it is time to import the file.

3. Click on the “tools” icon again, “measurement” and then “conversions”. Then select “uploads”.

4. Click on the “plus” sign to begin the upload.

5 upload the file

You can upload a Google sheet document, Excel file or connect to an HTTPS or STFP hosted file.

When you are done “uploading”, click “preview” to make sure that the data is matched to conversions accurately. It will show you if there are any errors in the file that needs to be fixed.

If the result is good, select “Apply” to sync the process. Wait till the upload is complete to see all imported conversions. It takes about 3 hours for the information to be added.

How to track conversions for phone calls (call extension, call-only ad, and website calls)

Most service businesses use phone calls as their primary source of inquiries. A good example is the real estate companies. If your business receives inquiries from calls, you need to track offline sales from the phone calls.

How to track conversions from call extension and call-only ad

The first thing to do is to set up the conversion tracking for the call extension and call-only ad option. To do that follow the process below.  

1. On your Google ads account, click the “tools” Icon. Click on “Measurement” and under it, click on “conversions”.

2. Click the “plus” button and select where you would like to track calls. In this case, it will either be call-only ads or calls from call extensions, then click on “continue“.

6. call tracking

3. Select a conversion “name” that is related to the phone call you want to track. For example, it can be “calls from holiday ads“.

4. Select the best “category” and choose the “value” if you want to attach a monetary value to the phone call.

5. Select the “call count” as appropriate. There are two options – Every and call length. Select “Every” to count a call as a conversion. Select “call length” to specify a call length to be called a conversion.

6. Choose a “call conversion” window. This could be from 1 to 60 days.

7. Click on “create and continue”.

How to track conversions from Website phone calls

The website call reporting helps you to track calls from a phone number on your website. Below are the steps to follow to track the conversions.

Create a conversion action

1. On your Google ads account, click the “tools” Icon. Click on “Measurement” and under it, click on “conversions”.

2. Click the “plus” button and select where you would like to track calls. In this case, it will either be “calls to a phone number on your website” or “Clicks on your number on your mobile website”, then click on “continue“.

7. call tracking

3. Select a conversion “name” is related to the phone call you want to track. For example, it can be “calls from holiday ads“.

4. Select the best “category” and choose the “value” if you want to attach a monetary value to the phone call.

5. Select the call count as appropriate. There are two options – Every and call length. Select “Every” to count a call as a conversion. Select call length to specify a call length to be called a conversion.

6. Choose a “call conversion” window. This could be from 1 to 60 days.

7. Click on “create and continue”.

The next thing to do is to install the phone tracking code on your website. To do that, follow the steps below:

1. Install the tag on your website. Select the method of installation i.e. install the tag yourself, email the tag or use Google Tag manager.

8. Install the tag

2. Follow the instructions that follow to install the code.
3. When you are done, you should see the result reflect in your ad account.

How to track conversions for In-store visits

Businesses that operate offline (i.e. car dealers, realtors, restaurants) can not only use Google Offline Conversion Tracking to understand how their ad clicks and impressions influence store visits, but also optimize their campaigns for conversions in-store exactly with the same bid strategies they can do it for online conversions.

Please note that store visit conversions are only available to selected advertisers with different physical locations and high click and impression volume. You can ask for this option to your account representative. 

Store visit conversion gives the option to run “local campaigns” which unlock access to exclusive ad inventory on Google Maps. It only requires that the business provides its location, campaign budget, ad creative, and store visit value. For privacy reasons, store visit conversions are based on aggregated statistics and are not linked to specific users and they work better when considering a large number of store visits.  

There are some requirements to meet in order to enable store visit conversions, such as having multiple physical store locations in eligible countries, a Google My Business account, receive thousands of ad clicks and impressions, and more.

How to track conversions for In-store visits

As mentioned above, this tool is only available to big advertisers with different physical locations and high click and impression volume. To track your in-store visits conversions, follow the steps below:

a. Claim your locations in a Google My Business account

b. Link the account with your Google ads account

c. Activate the location extensions in your account

d. Hire an account rep to help set up the feature

Track conversions for In-store visits through Leadsbridge

Another way to track conversions for In-store visits is through Leadsbridge, which allows you to automatically import conversions tracked into the company’s CRM into Google Ads. With the tool, you don’t need to upload your lead’s data manually, which takes time and effort.

The best part of this tool is that it automatically updates your conversions data from your CRM following LeadsBridge security standards. If you are interested in this integration feel free to contact us here.

How to optimize your Offline conversion data with Smart Bidding

For some advertisers, it is also possible to leverage Google smart-bidding for store visits to optimize omnichannel performance. 

There are three ways to evaluate a store visit: 

1.  The store visit conversions: which is a report automatically generated in Google Ads for advertisers eligible. 

2.  The average in-store conversion rate: an average of how many customers who visit your store are likely to make a purchase after interacting with an ad. 

3.   The average order value in-store: an average of the in-store purchases order value.

Each company can collaborate with their store manager to help them calculate their best metric to measure store visit value. Since some businesses, such as car dealers or real estate agencies, have long purchase cycles, they might need to include a 30-day conversion window to link revenues online to offline attribution data. Google recommends a 7-day window for the best bidding results.     

 To use the smart bidding tool, follow the steps below:

1. Choose what you want to optimize. It can be Pages visited, phone calls, form submissions, downloads, etc.

9. Funnel

2. Choose the most suitable Google Ads bid strategy. There are four namely – Maximize conversions, Target CPA, Maximize Conv. Value and Target ROAS.

10. Bidding strategy

3. Make the transition

11 transictions

a. Add the offline conversion in the conversion column

b. Select Maximize conversions as your bidding strategy and wait for 3 weeks

c. If you have a CPA or ROAS target you want to achieve, change to target CPA/ROAS

d. Review and analyze performance and make any desired target adjustments

For detailed information on how to set up smart-bidding for store visits follow the official guidelines by Google.

Conclusion

Many businesses rely on customers’ visits to physical locations, but since more than half of offline transactions are influenced by digital interaction, it’s important for businesses to better track offline sales. At the same time, online to offline attribution also concerns other intermediate steps of the funnel, “micro-conversions” such as phone calls, sign-ups, or downloads which most businesses can leverage to optimize their campaigns. 

Google Offline Conversion Tracking is an important tool that companies can use to get important information about the quality and value of the leads ads are driving and understanding the ROAS of their campaigns when sales and conversions occur offline allows companies to optimize for the outcome that matters most to the business.

Thanks to Google Offline Conversion Tracking, advertisers can finally close the gap between online to offline attribution. They can track offline sales and offline events, have a more detailed overview of successful keywords that result in conversions and increase their bids on those keywords to generate more revenue.

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Hephzy Asaolu

Hephzy is a Professional writer and blogger with over 9 years of experience in writing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases search engine visibility.

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