How to Track Offline Conversions in Google Ads

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By Boris Dzhingarov

If your business is only tracking the conversions that directly happen on the business website, then chances are that you are missing out on the full story of how your ads are having an impact on sales and conversions. For example, if you offer a contact number for customers to call when they are interested in buying, then potential customers that see or engage with your ad might make a call to have a conversation with your sales team rather than filling out the online form. Or if you have a physical store, customers might see your ads online and then visit the store to buy rather than making the purchase online.

Along with this, there are privacy rules and laws and a range of tracking challenges that can at times limit how much pixel-based or cooking-based tracking can correlate conversions accurately to certain ad platforms. Although it’s impossible to have one hundred per cent clean data from any tracking setup, each scenario can be better addressed with offline conversion tracking.

Whether it’s with a solid CRM program setup or you are using spreadsheets to store leads, it’s possible to make some changes to how you track conversions and update the company’s Google Ads conversion setup to incorporate offline data.

Tracking Visits to Your Store

If your ads are mainly directing customers to buy at a store or another physical location, then physical visit conversions can be used to track if users are visiting in-person after they have clicked through to an ad. Some companies can set up tracking using user mobile devices such as smartphones, which track if users have actually paid a visit to your store or another physical business location after viewing or engaging with your ad.

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Store visit conversions can be used by advertisers who are in an eligible country and have several physical stores or locations, high volumes of impressions and clicks, and where privacy requirements are met. Unfortunately, the documentation provided by Google about the requirements is not very clear. Along with this, certain product categories are considered to be sensitive and therefore are not eligible.

To track store visits, you’ll need to first go to your Google My Business profile and ensure that you have verified and claimed all physical locations you have, then ensure that location extensions have been activated. Once you have done this, and have all the requirements set out by Google, you should start getting store visit reports from your account. Bear in mind that the numbers will not always be exact since the data is aggregated and anonymous.

Phone Call Tracking

For some companies, telephone calls are a main source of enquiries and conversions. For example, tech support companies will often get telephone calls from a large percentage of leads from PPC ads. If this sounds like your business, then phone tracking is worth implementing in order to ensure that the leads are correctly attributed.

You will need to first go into your Google Ads account and follow the steps to set call extensions up. By doing this, you can ensure that your contact number is showing up on your ads in Google search results. Then, any users who are viewing the ad on a mobile device can simply click on the contact number to place a call to your business directly.

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Google allows companies to switch on call reporting, which gives you a unique number that you can use. This strategy allows you to better accurately track calls and where they are coming from in terms of your online ads.  

It’s also possible to choose to only count calls that last for a certain amount of time. This allows you to ignore any shorter calls that are unlikely to have resulted in a sale or lead.

Along with tracking calls that your business gets directly from ads, it’s also worth setting up tracking for the calls that you get from visitors to your website once they have clicked on an advertisement.  Google allows businesses to use a forwarding number that is displayed on the company website. In this case, users won’t be seeing your actual phone number, but rather a unique contact number that can be tracked and is forwarded to your business. You will then see this phone call conversion data in the company’s Google Ads data once a user has made a call to your business using this number.

Import Conversion Data to Your CRM

In Google Ads, you have the ability to import any data from offline conversions, associating attribution with your campaigns. To do this, you will need to be able to access and store the Google Click Identifier of the original users. This allows you to then associate them with each conversion action that they complete.

You can have custom development to handle this setup, but if you are using a CRM, most will have the ability to automatically handle it for you. For example, you may be interested in importing closed sales data that came into the CRM initially through PPC ads.

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You can import conversion data into most good CRM systems. To do this, you will need to begin with a template in the desired file format such as CSV or Excel. Then, add data into the sheet using separate rows for each conversion, including the Google Click ID associated with the conversion, the conversion name, and the data and time of the conversion. You can also add the conversion value and currency, if you are tracking revenue.

Setting Up Offline Conversions

If you are not already tracking offline conversions, then it is worth considering how much doing so might make an improvement to the results you are getting from PPC efforts. For example, if new customers are often calling your company as the first point of contact, if you have several steps in the process of nurturing leads that aren’t currently being attributed to conversions when you check your Google Ads account, or if your business has a lot of sales in physical stores, then tracking offline conversions can be very useful.

While it can take some work to get prepared for importing and tracking the data from offline conversions, the process is definitely worth doing.