Google’s Latest: Offline Conversion Tracking for Google AdWords

This month, Google announced a new initiative giving advertisers further insights into their conversion data and the role paid search plays in it. The first announcement, Cross-Account Conversion Tracking, came last week and will allow advertisers with multiple AdWords accounts to now see the interactions between those accounts. While this is a great advancement in a multi-touch world, it seems out done by this week’s announcement.

Yesterday, September 5th, Google announced this week’s addition to the conversion plan: the ability to track offline sales with Google AdWords. What the what?! Yeah, it’s for real, but it’s not as broad as the title might make it sound. Here’s how it works.

The Rundown

AdWords Offline Conversion Tracking

In the image above from the Inside AdWords blog, they walk you through each step.

1. When a visitor comes to your site via an AdWords ad, Google will provide you with a unique click ID.
2. Once the visitor fills out the form on your site, that click ID is passed and store in your database.
3. Your sales team follows up and gets the sale (of course!) and the purchase order is entered into your data base.
4. You manually upload the click ID, conversion type and date into AdWords creating a conversion.
5. You’ve got a complete picture of how your online ads generate offline revenue.

So for those of you that missed it, steps 1 and 2 put together combine to make one standard lead generation conversion action; more often than not the conversion action you’re currently tracking. What this new feature allows you to do (steps 3 and 4) is track the secondary, revenue producing conversion in your sales process; the one where a sale is actually made.

This is a big advancement in conversion tracking and will lead gen companies insights similar to those like ecommerce campaigns that can see their revenue numbers in Google Analytics. These conversions will be traced back to the ad and keyword the original conversion came from and attributed to them as well. You can see the different conversion types by adding the Conversions (many-per-click) column to your stats, then segmenting the data by conversion type or conversion name. Further more, these secondary conversions will also be eligible to use other Google features such as Search Funnels, Automated Rules, and Flexible bid strategies giving further insights and control over revenue producing leads.

Points of Interest

To take advantage of offline lead conversion tracking, there are a couple things you need to be aware of:

• You’re account needs to be set up for auto-tagging.
• You can adjust any code on your site to be able to capture the GCLID parameter appended to the destination URL.
• Your lead system and store the GCLID number through your sales process for you to upload later.
• Your lead-to-sale conversion cycle is less than 90 days. Any sale conversions uploaded more than 90 days after the initial online conversion will not be tracked.

Ready to get started?

For step by step instructions on how to set up offline conversion tracking in your account, head to the AdWords Support Center – Tracking Offline Conversions. This page will walk you through how to set up your account to track offline conversions as well as a section on how to upload those conversions into AdWords.