Offline Conversion Tracking In Google AdsLast Updated: February 10, 2020
If you are running Google Ads campaigns to generate leads for a business and you haven’t implemented offline conversion tracking, then you could be leaving money on the table.
Not only will this help you understand which strategies are making money for your business, but it will also show you where you are wasting money on conversions which aren’t turning into sales.
This blog post is for you if any of the following are true :
- You aren’t importing offline sales in Google Ads but you want to.
- You are running Google Ads campaigns, but don’t know which keywords, ad groups or campaigns are generating revenue for your business.
- You want to spend more money on conversions which turn into sales and less on those that don’t.
- You want to lower your costs and increase your revenue
Being a PPC Management Agency that’s extremely data-driven, the team here at HelloClicks does this as part of nearly all lead-gen campaigns. In its most simple form, it helps us understand exactly how much revenue campaigns are generating, so that we can spend smarter.
For example, we can see which keywords, ad copy and landing pages are all attracting buyers to the product or service.
Why you should import offline sales :
- Waste less money on keywords that aren’t making any money
- Understand which ad copy is attracting buyers rather than just enquirers
- Which devices, times of the day and days of the week result in sales
Today i’m going to walkthrough the EXACT steps you can take to implement offline conversion tracking with Google Ads so you can see everything that is making money and everything that isn’t.
If you can follow the steps outlined in this guide, it will take your Google Ads Management to a whole other level by focusing on revenue rather than just simply on conversions.
But First, The Pareto Principle
If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 principle before, it states is that in many different scenarios approximately 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the cause.
For example :
- 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers.
- 80% of your emails come from 20% of your customers.
- 80% of your clicks comes from 20% of your keywords.
And this is can be applied to our Google Ads campaigns too. When we first implement offline conversion tracking in Google Ads, we usually see that 80% of revenue comes from 20% of the keywords.
This is what it feels like when you have this type of data at your fingertips.
There’s no more guesswork, no more ‘thinking’ that you know which keywords are turning into sales. Your are data-driven and you know what’s performing and what isn’t.
Now enough of discussing why, let’s find out how.
How To Import Offline Conversions
There’s 5 steps involved in getting this process setup. I’m going to get reasonably technical here, so it may be worth having a cup of coffee before jumping in!
Step 1. Create an offline conversion tracking action
First of all, we need to create a conversion action in Google Ads that gives us something to upload our offline sales data against.
To do this, we need to go through similar steps that we would take to create a normal conversion action in Google Ads, but with a slight difference.
First navigate to ‘Tools & Settings’ from the menu and the under ‘MEASUREMENT’, click ‘Conversions’.
Then you will be given 4 options, choose ‘Import’.
On the next screen, you will need to select that you want to import ‘Other data sources or CRMs’. This will then give you two further options and for this step we’re going to choose ‘Track conversions from clicks’.
Now you’ll be presented with some further options.
Here’s what you need to enter :
- Under ‘Category’ select ‘Purchase’
- Under ‘Conversion Name’ give your offline conversion tracking action a name.
- Unless every sale value is the same, select ‘Use different values for each conversion’ and enter a default value if you wish.
- Under the ‘Count’ section, keep ‘Every’ selected for the total conversions per click.
- For ‘Conversion window’ this really depends on your business, but we would normally keep this set as ‘90 days’. This is the maximum time period in Google Ads for offline conversion tracking.
Here’s what Google says about the Conversion Window : “You have a click-to-conversion cycle that is less than 90 days. Conversions uploaded more than 90 days after the associated last click won’t be imported by Google Ads and will therefore not show up in your conversion statistics.”
- Under the Include in ‘Conversions’ section, we would recommend not checking this option as it will potentially result in double counting your conversions your reporting.
- Lastly, under ‘Attribution model’ – this will completely depend on your business. Sometimes it will make sense to associate revenue to each step in the users journey and sometimes you just want to know the last tough that lead to the revenue coming into the business.
- Once your done, hit the ‘CREATE AND CONTINUE’ button and your new Conversion Action should be created.
You can always make adjustments to the settings for a conversion action at a later date. This is done by clicking into the action and then clicking ‘Edit Settings’.
Ok so now we have Google Ads setup ready to receive your offline conversion tracking data. Now we need to adjust your website to be able to collect a piece of data from Google and associate it to each of your enquiries.
We’re going to walkthrough how to do this manually without using a tool like Google Tag Manager. We will however be releasing a post shortly that will walk through how to do this using GTM.
Step 2 – Tracking the GCLID
In order to begin even thinking about tracking offline sales, we need to have access to a piece of data called a GCLID.
GCLID stands for ‘Google Click Identifier’ which is a unique ID that Google associates to a click and a user when they click on an ad on Google.
It’s a way for Google Ads to tell Google Analytics everything about a user session, giving the ability to measure the performance.
You may have noticed that when you click on a Google Ad, you see some additional characters at the end of the URL, like below :
As you can see, the querystring ‘gclid’ has been added and the identifier has been generated as the value.
There are 3 steps involved in getting the GCLID from the browser to the CRM.
They are as follows:
- Capture the GCLID from the URL and store it in a cookie.
- The data from the cookie will then populate a hidden field in your form.
- When the form is submitted, the hidden field will pass the GCLID to your CRM (or however you manage your inbound leads).
Our setup guide is going to assume that you are using a CRM to manage your leads. Alternatively they may simply be emailed over to you each time one arrives. It’s quite simple to adjust the steps for this guide to be able to do that.
Auto-tagging is what appends the URL to include the GCLID.
Auto-tagging’s primary use for us is to enable Google Ads data to be imported into Google Analytics, which is then associated to a users session.
As well as this, enabling it will also allow you to import conversion data from Google Analytics back into Google Ads.
We won’t get too bogged down on how it works in this post. All you need to know is that in order for us to track offline sales, then we need the GCLID.
To enable it, you need to follow these steps :
- Sign into your Google Ads account
- Select the ‘All campaigns’ view then click settings
- Then select ‘Account Settings’ from the top of the page
- Then you should see ‘Auto-tagging’ in the list of options
- Enable it by checking the checkbox and then click save
To find out if it’s working correctly, follow the instructions here.
Now we need the ability to access the GCLID on your website and associate that to a lead when it comes into your business.
Step 3. Capturing and storing the GCLID
What we then need to do now is store the GCLID in a cookie when the user lands on your page and then put that ID into a hidden field on your form which is submitted along with the rest of their input details.
In this instance it makes sense to store the GCLID in a cookie.
Let’s say a user arrives onto your website, but then browses to a few different pages before submitting an enquiry form.
The GCLID would no longer be on the URL and it wouldn’t be possible to then track the offline sale for that particular user.
By storing it in a cookie, as a user moves between different pages the GCLID will be stored and ready to be used as and when it is needed.
It’s out of the scope of this post to walk you through coding the functionality to do this, but this guide will give you a code example that you can use.
The same code will give you the ability to add the GCLID to a hidden field in your form ready to be submitted.
Submitting Your GCLID With The Lead
What we want to happen next is to take the GCLID as well as the rest of the users submitted data and pass it into your CRM. The goal is to have the GCLID for a user that has come from Google Ads to be included in each deal.
Whether you use a CRM or not, you should be able to configure your setup to capture that information pretty easily.
Step 4. Importing Offline Conversions Into Google Ads
So far we’ve setup Google Ads ready to import offline sales data and we’ve then made sure the GCLID is submitted when a user submits their details through your website.
The next step involves taking the leads that have turned into revenue and import that data back into Google Ads.
Again, depending on how you manage your inbound leads there are a few different possibilities here. But for the sake of actually picking one, i’m going to assume that you are using a CRM.
In the previous step we created a hidden field in the form which contain the GCLID. So what we want to do now is to export the sales for your business from your CRM, where there is a GCLID.
Most CRM’s will allow you to create custom exports with filters applied to them. What you will hopefully end up with, is a spreadsheet detailing the relevant sales.
*Remember your maximum conversion window is 90 days, so you need to make sure that this is done regularly.
Now we have the export, it’s time to put it into a format that we can use to import into Google ads. We only require the following fields in order to do this :
- The GCLID (obviously)
- The value of the sale
- The date that the sale took place
- The currency of the sale
Google Ads offers a way of downloading a sample template, so you don’t have to do too much playing around.
Follow these steps to download it :
- In Google Ads, browse to ‘Tools & Settings’ and ‘Conversions’.
- Then in the left hand navigation, click the option for ‘Uploads’.
- From here in the main section of the page, select ‘View Templates’ and a popup should appear.
- Then under ‘Upload new’ select either ‘Excel’, ‘CSV or ‘Google Sheets’ on the row for ‘Conversions from clicks’.
- This will then give you a template to download or take you to a sample Google Sheets template.
- Now, if you open the file and begin entering each of your Offline Conversions.
- The ‘Conversion Name’ field is the Conversion Action that we setup earlier, so just enter the same name here.
- ‘Conversion Time’ is the date the sale took place.
- ‘Conversion Value’ is the revenue from the sale.
- The ‘Conversion Currency’ is the currency code for the sale, a full list can be found here.
- The final step that we need to do is enter the ‘TimeZone’ under ‘Parameters:’. To do that, you will need to enter your companies primary timezone, a full list of references can be found here.
Now we should have a complete spreadsheet ready to import offline sales into Google Ads. Fortunately the next steps make the whole process seem more than worthwhile.
If you jump back into Google Ads, you should still have your ‘Uploads’ screen open (Tools & Settings > Conversions > Uploads).
Under ‘Source’ you will be able to select the source of the file you are uploading. In our setup, we’re going to select ‘Upload a file’.
Selecting this will give you an option to select the file from your computer to upload.
Before getting too carried away and just clicking ‘Apply’ we want to run it in ‘Preview’ mode first.
This will show us if there are any errors before uploading the file.
If everything looks ok then you can go ahead and click ‘Apply’. Your data will then be imported. If there are any errors, they will be pointed out to you and they will obviously need addressing before applying.
Step 5. Showing the Data In Google Ads
It will take a while for the data to import offline sales, but it is usually done within 24 hours.
A nice little workaround to see if it has been done yet is to open Google Ads and browse to ‘Tools & Settings’ and ‘Conversions’.
One of the columns should show ‘All conv. value’ if it does then you can adjust your columns to make it be displayed
As soon as your data is imported, this field will no longer be zero for the conversion action that you have created
Once your all set, it’s time to see exactly what’s making you money and what isn’t.
In order to do that we need to create a custom column. This custom column is going to show us the total value of the offline conversion tracking action.
In order to do this, on your Google Ads campaigns page, select the ‘COLUMNS’ option in the menu and then ‘Modify ‘Columns’.
Now if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you should see an option for ‘Customised Columns’, select it and then click ‘Custom Column’.
You should then be presented with the following screen :
First of all you will need to give it a name and you can also give it a description.
Then you should click the ‘+METRIC’ button under the ‘Formula’ section.
Then select ‘All conv. value’ and you should be left with the following :
Now in the ‘Segment:’ section on the right, select ‘Conversions’ and then ‘Conversion Action’. This will then give you a list of all of your Conversion Actions available. Select the one that you created to import your offline conversions to and click save.
Now you have your own customised column for your Offline Conversions. All you have to do is then apply it and you can start seeing exactly what’s making money!
You can start applying this at the Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword level. You can even see which ads have resulted in revenue for your business!
This is basically how it feels once you’ve nailed your import!
Not only is this extremely interesting to see to see if your Google Ads campaigns are profitable for your business, but it can also give you a direction for your campaigns overall strategy.
I know that this has been a lengthy post with A LOT of information on offline conversion tracking, which is reasonably technical. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us in the comments below.
Or if you would like us to take care of setting this up for you, please feel free to contact us for more information.