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About offline conversion tracking

Sometimes, a click on an AdWords ad doesn't lead directly to an online sale, but instead starts a customer down a path that ultimately leads to a sale in the offline world, such as at your office or over the phone. By importing offline conversions, you can measure what happens in the offline world after a click on one of your ads.

Benefits

Importing offline conversion events gives you a more comprehensive look at which keywords and targeting criteria (for example, geography or time of day) drive the most cost-effective conversions. This data can help you target and optimize your campaigns for increased profit.

If you attract leads or buyers online, or both, you might want to record a conversion in the following cases:

  • When you close a sale offline (for example, over the phone or in person) and track this sale in another sale, such as Salesforce
  • 30 days after the online sale so you can exclude transactions that resulted in a return
  • Only if the sale was made to a new customer
  • Only if it is a customer's 2nd purchase
  • When you close a sale online but are unable to use our standard Javascript-based conversion tracking solution

Here's a quick overview of the feature.

Types of offline conversion tracking

AdWords offers 2 options to see how your AdWords campaigns drive offline sales and leads:

  • AdWords Conversion Import for Salesforce® allows you to import sales events from Salesforce into AdWords, and is the best option if you use Salesforce’s Sales Cloud® to track your sales data. You can learn more about the specifics for this solution in About AdWords Conversion Import for Salesforce.
  • AdWords Conversion Import allows you to import conversions that you track in any other system into AdWords. It’s a broader option that applies to many different ways of tracking offline conversions, and is the best option if you don’t use Salesforce.
  • Importing call conversions lets you import conversions that start with a phone call from your ads. This kind of offline conversion tracking works differently from importing conversions that start with ad clicks. Learn more in About importing call conversions.

How it works

AdWords provides you with a unique ID, called a "GCLID," for every click that comes to your website from an AdWords ad. To track offline conversions, you'll save that ID along with whatever lead information you collect from the person who clicked your ad.

Later, when that person "converts" in the offline world, by signing a contract, for example, you give that GCLID back to AdWords along with a few details about the type of conversion it was and when it happened. Then AdWords records this conversion along with your other conversion tracking data.

Example

You design, build, and sell custom boardroom tables. You use AdWords to drive prospective customers to your website, where they then can submit their contact information and request a sales call. If a lead results from a click on an AdWords ad, the lead's contact information will also include a GCLID.

Once a week, your salespeople review that week's sales and send you the prospects (and associated GCLIDs) that converted into customers, along with the date and time of each sale. You then compile that data into a five-column spreadsheet and upload it into your AdWords account. Within a few hours you'll be able to see which keywords and queries are contributing not just to new lead submissions, but, more importantly, to actual sales.

This new data saves you time and makes it easier to maximize your investment in AdWords.

Use automated bidding with offline conversions

You can use AdWords automated bid strategies to optimize for offline conversions. If you do, it's a good idea to do the following:

  • Import offline conversion data frequently. (Daily is best.)
  • Begin uploading conversions and then wait the length of your conversion window before you turn on automated bidding.
  • If you're tracking a combination of online and offline conversions, try the target ROAS bid strategy. With target ROAS, you can better optimize for online and offline conversions by assigning different values to different conversion actions, such as leads and offline sales.

Example

Say you’re tracking leads through an online conversion action, and final sales through an offline conversion action. You can assign different values to each conversion action to reflect the value each has for your business: for example, the value of a lead is $10, and that of a sale is $500. This gives AdWords more insight into your sales funnel. And the more insight AdWords has into your sales funnel, the better it can optimize your bids for you.

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