Offline Conversion Tracking: Improve your lead quality
Digital advertising has been around for little more than a generation. Marketers of our parents’ era largely relied on traditional media to influence perspectives and behavior. But, the internet created a whole new world where attention can be captured and behavior can be measured. Today, marketers have powerful technology and channels with the ability to show you exactly what you get for your money.
Possibly more than any other company, Google’s influence on how the internet developed has been massive. The leading cause of Google’s unrivaled success is arguably their ability to show what your ad dollars get you. Google can attribute specific, desirable online behaviors to ads which serve on their platform. Advertising on Google works; just look at the attribution reporting.
The value of tracking behaviour offline
For all the progress that’s been made in building and tracking the online world, the shortcoming of digital marketing is that tracking what happens offline is still difficult, but more valuable than ever. Service-based and B2B companies know that the most important customer behavior happens after the individual has engaged with their brand online.
For businesses that track online leads where the final sale or deal happens offline (e.g. via phone or email), tracking offline behavior is essential. In these industries lead generation is just the first of many steps to closing a customer. These steps often occur over the course of days, weeks, and months. In this time, the lead will likely engage in multiple behaviors that happen outside of the company’s website: Opening an email; a call with a sales rep; an in-person meeting. Each of these behaviors progress this lead further down the sales funnel toward becoming a customer.
Tracking this behavior is challenging, but customer relationship management tools (CRMs) have been a staple in monitoring and automating this intended progression. Those businesses that are especially on-the-ball may even have reporting set up in their CRM telling them which lead is attributed to which source. Brilliant.
The case for offline conversion tracking
Recognizing the importance of behaviour that happens offline and having a CRM in place to help monitor it are huge steps toward being an effective marketer. But, you can still do more.
With offline conversion tracking, you can measure which ad clicks result in offline sales or other valuable customer actions. By importing your offline data into Google Ads, you can optimize for the outcomes that matter most to your business and have a better understanding of the Return on Investment (ROI).
Google’s offline conversion tracking allows advertisers to optimize digital ads to conversion events that happen in the real world. Why does that matter? Because these real-world events, like a call with a sales person, are exponentially more valuable than online events, like a button click.
Setting up offline conversion tracking creates a moderated connection between your CRM and the Google Ads platform. It allows you to create a conversion event in Google that happens off of your website, and enables your ads to optimize to that high-value behavior.
Offline conversion tracking enables advertisers to give Google’s AI more complete information on valuable behaviors. With better information comes more qualified customers and better performance.
How to track offline conversions
Tracking offline conversions helps you measure results of your digital campaigns and optimize for the most qualified customers. To set up offline conversion tracking you need to do four things:
Enable auto-tagging in Google Ads so that the Google Click ID (GCLID) is associated with a session.
Set up a hidden field in your lead form that captures the GCLID.
Set up conversions in Google ads for the offline conversion events you want to track. A popular choice is when a lead progresses to the Marketing Qualified Lead stage, the Sales Qualified Lead stage, and then when they become a customer.