What Is Offline Conversion Tracking & Why Is It Important?

Written by Amelia Crisp

Tracking campaign effectiveness in digital advertising, particularly PPC (Pay-Per-Click), is becoming more challenging as reliance on cookies diminishes. This lack of precise data makes it harder for advertisers to definitively demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of their online efforts. Consequently, the need to understand the true value these channels bring becomes even more critical, which is where offline tracking comes in handy.

Offline conversion tracking empowers advertisers and businesses to bridge the gap between online and offline interactions, revealing the complete customer journey and allowing effective optimisation of marketing campaigns to drive the greatest value. This blog explores the benefits and various techniques for using offline conversion tracking in your paid marketing campaigns.

Why Offline Conversions Matter

Not every customer journey starts and ends online. In many cases, a user might see your ad online, then call your store or visit your physical location to convert. Without OCT, these conversions remain invisible, making it impossible to measure the true ROI of your digital campaigns.

Imagine this: you have a keyword generating tons of website form submissions at a fantastic cost-per-acquisition (CPA). But when you delve into your offline conversion data, you see those leads rarely translate into actual sales. This scenario highlights why offline conversion tracking is crucial. It can reveal that a seemingly successful keyword might be driving low-quality traffic, costing you money in the long run.

By understanding the complete customer journey, you can see which keywords deliver leads that convert offline, ultimately generating revenue. In the example above, it might be smarter to prioritise keywords with a higher CPA that bring in high-quality customers who convert into paying customers, even if the initial cost appears steeper. Offline conversion tracking empowers you to optimise your campaigns for real business impact, not just website clicks.

Here’s why tracking offline conversions is essential:

Get a holistic view: See the complete customer journey, from online interaction to offline conversion. This empowers you to optimise campaigns for what truly matters – driving sales and revenue.

Optimise ad spend: Identify which channels and campaigns drive the most valuable conversions, both online and offline. Allocate your budget more effectively for maximum return.

Measure true ROI: Go beyond website clicks and understand the actual impact of your marketing efforts on your bottom line. Justify your marketing spend with clear data.

How Do You Track Offline Conversions?:

Now that we understand the importance of OCT, let’s explore how to track it:

Google Click Identifier (GCLID)

GCLIDs are unique codes attached to each Google ad click. When a user clicks, a GCLID is generated, this can then be used later in the funnel to understand if that click resulted in an offline conversion. This allows you to see which specific campaign, keyword and ad led to the conversion. Google Ads automatically adds the GCLIDs to your final URL.

By embracing offline conversion tracking, you gain a deeper understanding of your customer journey, allowing you to better optimise your campaigns and reach your ideal CPA or ROAS figure, by looking holistically rather than the attribution when solely based online.

It is the same principle as the different Google attribution models, looking at which channels had the most impact on a single conversion when based online.

Say for example you are a private cosmetic dentist, and your primary goal from PPC is to drive enquiries on the website for consultations, but you want to understand how many of those leads turned into booked customers.

With the help of your sales team, we are able to download the data of those who have enquired, booked a consultation and if they turned into paying customers and we can download this data using the GCLIDS into Google for offline tracking.

From this, we are able to see which campaigns drove x amount of enquiries for consultations and the offline tracking allows us to see which campaigns drove enquiry forms, booked consultations  and if they turned into paying customers

We can then see the cost per consultation figure to help us optimise our campaigns and our ongoing strategy. We can also get the data for how many people booked a surgery and paid from this strategy as well – allowing us to get revenue and ROAS data, all from offline conversions!


“How Do I Set Up Offline Tracking For My Google Ad Campaigns?”

Setting up offline conversion tracking in Google Ads involves creating a new conversion action and uploading your conversion data. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

It is important to note that you may have to amend the contact forms so they are able to capture the GCLID information when the form is submitted, otherwise the offline conversion data won’t be applicable.

  1. Create a New Conversion Action:
  • Go to your Google Ads account and navigate to “Tools and Settings” then “Measurement” and “Conversions.”
  • Click the “+” button to set up a “New Conversion Action.”
  • Choose “Import” as the conversion type and select “Other data sources or CRMs” for most scenarios.
  • Define your conversion action (e.g., “Phone Sale”) and attribution settings.
  • Click “Create and continue” to finalise.
  1. Upload Conversion Data:

There are two main options for uploading data:

  • Manual Uploads: You can manually upload a spreadsheet containing details like conversion time, customer information, and a Google Click Identifier (GCLID) if available.
  • Automated Uploads: Ideally, you’d automate this process by connecting your CRM or another system directly to Google Ads for seamless data flow.

There are two main ways CRMs can help with offline conversion tracking:

  1. Providing Data for Uploads: Your CRM stores valuable customer data like names, emails, and timestamps. When you have an offline conversion (e.g., phone sale), you can log this information along with the relevant ad campaign details (ideally including the Google Click ID or GCLID) in your CRM. Later, you can export this data from your CRM and upload it to Google Ads to associate the offline conversion with the specific online ad interaction.
  2. Automated Uploads (Optional): Some advanced CRMs offer integrations with Google Ads that allow for automated data transfer. This eliminates the need for manual uploads. With this setup, whenever a sale or qualified lead is logged in the CRM and it’s linked to a previous online ad interaction (through GCLID or other methods), the CRM can automatically push that data to Google Ads, updating your offline conversion metrics.

For further instructions, please refer to Google’s official guide on offline conversion imports.

Ready to unlock the power of offline conversions and measure the true impact of your marketing efforts? Don’t underestimate the customer journey that begins offline. Our team of experts is here to help you craft a seamless online and offline strategy that maximises your return on investment.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you leverage offline conversions and achieve your marketing goals.