Offline conversion tracking on Google Ads and Facebook

Conversions are one of the most important factors in an online marketing strategy. But how do you keep track of these conversions when your business isn’t solely online? That’s when offline conversion tracking comes into play. 

Offline conversion tracking evaluates the impact of digital ads on offline events. It is an important way for a business to attribute in-store purchases to digital marketing actions.  It also helps you understand the customer journey that led to the action. 

Setting up offline conversion tracking is a crucial way to better understand your customers and know what changes you can make to optimize your digital marketing campaigns and ads.  But, tracking an ad’s impact in the offline world can be a difficult task for marketers. 

Businesses had no definitive way of knowing that the online ad they were showing was the reason someone came into their store to purchase an item before offline conversion tracking was available. Luckily for us, we now have a way to record these conversions and it will only continue to develop in the upcoming years. 

Currently, offline conversion tracking can be done on Google Ads and Facebook

So let’s begin tracking! 

Tracking Offline Conversions On Google Ads 

There are two ways that we can track offline conversions on Google Ads: 

  • Clicks 
  • Phone calls

In order to track offline conversions, it will be necessary to set up offline conversion tracking and then import the collected data into Google Ads.  

Collecting The Data

You will need to establish what offline conversions you will want to be tracking.  Gathering this information can be done using a CRM software and then importing the collected data to your Google Ads account.

To track online users, you will also use a Google Click Identifier, known as a  “GCLID”. This can easily be set up using Google’s URL auto-tagging option to add a unique GCLID parameter to each destination URL. Enabling auto-tagging will also let you import offline conversions. The GCLID will gather information about the user and any actions that they take on the page, making it an efficient and accurate way to collect data. 

Two types of conversions

Offline conversions originating from clicks go through the following process: 

  1. An ad is clicked and the user is directed to the  website. A GCLID is created for this user. 
  2. The user fills out a lead form onsite and the information provided is added to the GCLID. 
  3. This lead information and GCLID are stored in a CRM or spreadsheet.
  4. A sale or deal is completed offline.
  5. The data of the sale is uploaded into Google Ads. 

Offline conversions originating from phone calls are tracked On Google Ads using the phone number and the time of call. 

They can be measured when:

  • A call comes from a click on a mobile add call extension 
  • A manually dialed number in a desktop ad
  • Calls originating from your website after an ad click (if code is added to the website)

After a call leads to a conversion, you will upload the conversion data and the callers number and the time of the call into Google Ads.  Then, the corresponding ad and campaign with be linked to the information of the conversion.

Google says that in order to make the most of offline conversion tracking, it is important to upload the collected offline data frequently.  They also suggest allowing enough time between cycles before using automated bidding.  

Tracking Offline Conversions On Facebook  

It is also possible to track offline conversions with Facebook Business Manager.  

In order to do so, you will need to open the events manager and go to offline events. Similar to Google Ads, you will need to manually upload the offline data that you have collected into your created event.

The collected data should include: 

  1. Customer details
  2. Event time 
  3. Event details (including the value of the conversion and the currency) 

Once uploaded, you will then need to manually match the fields in Facebook. Facebook allows for up to 17 identifiers such as name, email, phone number, gender, age, etc. The platform will have a better chance of matching users the more fields you add. 

After matching the fields and fixing any errors that have come up, you will be able to start the upload! 

Once the data has been imported, it can’t be deleted from Google Ads and Facebook. You should double check the information before hand and fix any problems you might have prior to uploading the data. 

Later on, you will be able to use the information that you uploaded to create lookalike audiences for remarketing purposes.

It is important to note that only about 40% of uploaded Facebook events are matched with real users and should be taken into account at the time of analyzing results and decision making. 

Analyzing Your Data

After gathering a couple months worth of data, you can really start to reap the benefits of offline conversion tracking. These insights will help you track the revenue made on paid advertising, possibly increasing your budget on certain channels that are performing well.

 They will also help you attribute in-store sales to specific online campaigns and calculate your return on investment.  You can even get creative and conduct experiments and find out what digital marketing strategies work best to drive the offline actions best for your business.

By connecting the offline and online worlds, you will now be able to answer some of the most compelling questions you have about your customer’s behavior.  These insights will help you and your team create a better strategy to make the most of your digital advertising. 

However you choose to use the information you have just gathered about your customers, you now have the tools necessary to understand them better at various stages of their buyer journey. 

Start tracking offline conversions today and take your advertising actions to a new standard! 

Want to learn more about the importance of tracking your advertising performance? Check out our blog on reporting!