A customer sees your ad, clicks on it, but ends up calling you, leading to a sale that was taken offline. How can you track when your search ad leads to a conversion offline and outside of your website? Too many people just focus on online conversion tracking, yet it is highly important to consider offline conversions to shape a marketing strategy that includes all types of conversions and audiences.
Offline conversion tracking is a method of tracking conversions that can later be attributed to your offline data. They’re for in-store purchases, face-to-face sales, phone calls, and leads generated offline. Offline conversions allow you to attribute your online efforts to the offline data you have collected, and they are highly important if you run a business where physical interactions are substantial.
In this blog post, we’ll cover what offline conversions are, the benefits of tracking them, and how to track them by integrating different tools and softwares. Let’s

What are Offline Conversions And How To Track Them?

Simply put, offline conversions are when your desired outcomes as a business happen in the offline world. This could be an in-store purchase or an enrollment through a physical form rather than an online one. The main idea is that the transaction gets finalized in the real world instead of the virtual.

When this is the case, tracking offline conversions requires some tools first. One is a Google Ads account (or any other campaign platform you use) to trace ad clicks back to your offline conversions, and a Google Analytics account to gather and compare your data. Another thing you’ll highly benefit from is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool so that you can store your leads and customer information in one place.

There could be other extra tools you’ll need depending on the way your customers frequently reach you (such as a call tracking software if you close more deals through the phone), but for now, let’s start with the basics.

What is the Purpose of Offline Conversion Tracking?

Two words: more data! This may not come as a surprise in today’s data-driven world, but when you come to think of it, knowledge is power. Identifying your customer demographics and frequent sales channels is key to a fool-proof marketing strategy, and you can’t exactly expect to have this if you are missing a chunk of your sales data.

Think of it this way: You may be making sales largely through your online store, but there are customers who still come to buy directly from your physical store. Why did they decide to buy from you? Could it be an ad they saw while searching for their options, or a friend of theirs who recommended your brand? Offline conversion tracking is the answer to all these questions.

How Offline Conversions Work

What are the Benefits of Offline Conversion Tracking?

The greatest benefit of offline conversion tracking boils down to the fact that it enables a comprehensive approach to ad optimization. But what exactly do we mean by “comprehensive”? Let’s assume that you run a business where customers have a higher rate of physical purchasing. In that case, excluding offline conversions would mean a huge loss of customer data.

By tracking offline conversions, you’ll have a chance to include this (most likely neglected) fragment of customers in your database. If you know what convinced them to make this conversion in the first place, you can target your ads better to achieve greater results, whether it’s revenue, interaction rate, etc. This would also translate to better sales tracking and better ad optimization, as you’ll be able to know the scope of your ads and how they perform outside of the world of online purchasing.

What is Offline Conversion Import?

You’ve gathered the data, but what’s the use if you can’t analyze it to make concrete decisions? In this case, the data you’ve gathered in your CRM software is only useful if it’s imported to the ad campaign tool you use, so that the ad can be matched with the customer info. This tool could be Google Ads, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. but for now, our main focus will be on Google Ads.

By importing the offline conversion data you’ve gathered in your CRM software to Google Ads, you will be able to match the customer information with the ad they’ve clicked on. So, even if the customer makes the conversion offline, the imported data to Google Ads will still be able to announce a match through their previously recorded information, and you’ll have a lead on the ad that aided your customer to make their decision.

How to Set Up Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics?

If you wish to set up offline conversion tracking in Google Analytics, note that you’ll need a CRM software to import your data from. Once you have the data, you can decide on what to count as a conversion, and set up a custom Goal in your Google Analytics account. From here on, you’ll need the guidance of the CRM software you’re using to alter the settings.

How to Track Offline Conversions with Google Ads?

Tracking offline conversions with Google Ads requires a core element called the Google Click ID (or “GCLID” in short), but it also requires some extra help from a CRM tool. Here’s how the relationship between the two works:

  1. Whenever a customer clicks on your ad, a parameter which is the GCLID) placed in your ad’s URL is activated.
  2. Your customer fills out a form while browsing through so that the info provided can be matched with the special parameter.
  3. You store all this information and the unique GCLID in your CRM database for a possible offline match in the future.
  4. Once the offline conversion happens, it gets extracted and uploaded to Google Ads through the CRM integration.

You can also check out Google’s own handbook to learn more about the options for tracking offline conversions with Google Ads.

How to Set Up Offline Conversions in Google Ads?

As we’ve mentioned, the GCLID should be used with a CRM tool in order to match the unique ID with customer information, and you’ll need to alter some codes in your website to incorporate the GCLID as a special parameter. After you’re all set, the main thing left for you to do is to decide which conversions you’d like to measure and add the GCLID as a custom field in your CRM database for the related conversion.

For example, your target conversion could be a form filled out by the customer. In that case, you should add a custom field for the form fill action in your CRM, and add that user’s unique GCLID whenever someone fills out the form. This way, you’ll have a chance to later retrieve the information and trace it back to the customer whenever an offline conversion happens.

All this may seem like complicated work, but rest assured that it eventually comes down to getting familiar with both Google Ad’s and your preferred CRM tool’s interface. If you wish to know the exact steps to enable offline conversion tracking in your Google Ads property, you can check out for more detailed guidance on how to set up offline conversions in Google Ads.

In short…

You should always keep in mind that no marketing strategy is complete if you leave a part of your data out of the equation. Implementing offline conversion tracking to your ads strategy is a great way to create campaigns that are both diverse and comprehensive. By hooking up a few tools, you can attribute offline data to your ad campaigns and reinforce your conversions, and even have the chance to find out audiences you previously thought were not actually interested in your business.

Offline conversions also provide great insight when you need to come up with new ways to reach out to your existing audiences. Don’t forget that the goal of a truly great ad should be to exist beyond the brief moment your audience interacts with it, and tracking your offline conversions could be the golden proof that this is the case. So in short, we advise that you don’t miss out on this amazing tool and, who knows, you may even be surprised to find out information you never knew existed.

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