How To Track Offline Conversions From Your Google Ads

For many businesses, if you’re only tracking conversions that happen directly on your website, you’re likely missing out on a complete picture of how ads affect sales.

A prospect might click on your ad only to pick up the phone to speak with a salesperson instead of filling out a form.

If your business has physical branches, a shopper may visit you in person to purchase after initially spotting you via an ad.

In addition, privacy regulations and the following tracking challenges sometimes limit the ability of pixel-based tracking and cookies to correctly associate conversions with advertising platforms.

While no data is 100% clean in a tracking setup, offline conversion tracking can help tackle every scenario.

Whether you have a robust CRM setup or store leads in spreadsheets, updating your Google Ads conversion setup to integrate offline data is possible with the right adjustments to your process.

In this article, I’ll go over three ways you can start integrating offline conversions into your Google Ads account:

  • import conversion.
  • Call tracking.
  • Store visit tracking.

Import conversion data

Google Ads allows you to import conversion data offline and associate the referral with your campaigns as long as you can obtain and store the original user’s GCLID (Google Click ID) to associate it with every conversion action that user completed.

This setting can be handled via custom development work Or an option that your CRM or automation system can take care of automatically.

For example, you may want to import data for closed sales deals that initially entered your CRM via Google search ads. Or, if your purchase requires some manual transmission and transmission to complete, you can upload sales data after the fact with the amount of revenue included.

Conversion setting

To get started, create a new transform and select imports from the list of transfer types.

Screenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

Next, you will select the source from which you want to import conversions.

If you’re using Salesforce, they have a Direct integration into Google Ads It allows importing data based on features in the platform. You can also import from Other Data Sources or CRMs to use a third party spreadsheet or connection.

Once you select the last option, you can then choose to import either connection-based or click-based data. For now, I will focus on the data from clicks and address calls in more detail.

On the next screen, name your conversion and choose a category. Let’s say you’re trying to connect leads to steps in a sales funnel. In this case, you can choose options like Qualified leader or converted leador if a direct sale with measurable profit can be attributed to a user, specify Purchase.

If applicable, you can associate a specific value or opt for a dynamic deal if the revenue per conversion varies.

Transfer optionsScreenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

Once you have selected the options you want, save the conversion. You are now ready to start importing the data.

Prepare your import template

To import data, start with a form in the file format you want (Excel, CSV, or Google Sheets). Templates are available here.

First, modify the timezone field to reflect the appropriate time for your region (for example, Parameters: TimeZone = -0500 forest).

Next, you’ll need to add the appropriate data to the sheet, using a separate row for each transformation, including the following columns:

  • google click id: The GCLID associated with the transformation.
  • Transfer name: This must match the conversion name in your Google Ads account.
  • conversion time: date and time of conversion. The following are acceptable formats Courtesy of Google’s support page.
time formatsScreenshot by the author, September 2022
  • Conversion value and currency (optional): If you are tracking revenue, these fields will include the value associated with the conversion, as well as the currency, using the three-letter currency codes. See the list of accepted currency symbols.

Data import

To import the document you prepared, go to Transfers section of your account and select downloads from the left sidebar.

Click the plus sign to start your download.

You can then choose to upload a file, sync with a Google Sheets document, or connect to a hosted HTTPS or SFTP file.

downloadsScreenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

Once your file is uploaded, click preview To ensure that the data correctly matches the transfers in the account.

The results page will flag any errors in your document.

If you are satisfied with the results, select Implementation To sync transfers with your account.

Note that you will need to wait a few hours before the conversions appear in the interface.

Schedule downloads

In addition to manual uploads, you can schedule regular data uploads from a Google Sheets document, HTTPS, or SFTP.

It can help save time and automate the process if you can automatically sync a spreadsheet or database file to pull conversion data from your CRM.

TableScreenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

Choose scalesclick the plus sign to create a new upload, and choose the source.

Then, you can choose the frequency, which can be daily or weekly for any day of the week and hour.

phone calls

For some businesses (especially those in service industries), phone calls are the main source of inquiries.

For example, a former tech support customer received about 80% of their leads over the phone.

If you tend to get new business inquiries from calls, you must implement phone tracking to properly attribute these leads.

call extensions

First, make sure that your Google Ads call extensions are set up, allowing a phone number to be shown with ads in search results.

Go to Ads & Plugins > Extensions to start preparing these. Add a new extension and select Call extension.

Call extensionScreenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

Mobile users can click on the number to call the company directly.

You can also try call-only ads to give people the option to call when browsing from a phone.

Google also provides an option to turn on call reporting, which allows the use of a unique forwarding number. This approach will allow you to associate calls to the ad level and keyword in the account.

You can also choose to only count calls with a minimum duration, so you can exclude short calls that likely won’t lead to business.

For example, my client has found that calls that last longer than 3 minutes and 30 seconds generally tend to be the most qualified, so we set call forwarding to only track calls with a minimum of 210 seconds.

Report website calls

Then, you should also make sure to track calls that happen from your website after clicking on the ad.

In addition to the ad extensions, Google offers an option to use setting forwarding numbers for your site, where users will see a unique, trackable number instead of your regular number.

You’ll see the data appear in your Google Ads account after users connect.

Under the Transfers section of your account, create a transfer and select Transfer phone calls.

Divert phone callsScreenshot from Google Ads, September 2022

You can choose between:

  • Calls to a phone number on your website (which requires the use of a forwarding number).
  • Clicks on your number on your mobile website (which does not use a redirect number but still requires a tag to be added to your site).

In this example, we’ll go with Calls to a phone number on your website To ensure all calls are tracked and call reporting data is entered into Google Ads.

You can specify the details of the call transfer, including the length of the call, as discussed earlier. Once you’ve configured the conversion, you’ll see instructions for adding a flag to your site to trigger a redirect number when users visit your site.

Once you enable conversion and configure the location tag to track phone calls, you should start to see call conversions reflected in your account.

Store visits

If you’re promoting sales in a physical location, store visit conversions can track whether people visit in person after clicking on ads.

Google uses location data from mobile devices to determine whether people who have previously participated in or viewed ads have come to your store.

Store visit conversions are only available to advertisers in eligible countries who have multiple physical locations and receive a high number of clicks and impressions, as well as enough store visit data to meet the privacy limits.

Unfortunately, Google’s documentation is vague on the specific limits to meet. Also note that some categories of sensitive products may not be eligible for store visit tracking.

You’ll need to make sure you claim and verify your store locations on your Business Profile.

You will also need to activate location extensions in your account.

Once you complete these steps and meet Google’s requirements, your account should begin reporting store visits.

Once you start seeing store visit data in your account, conversions will appear in the All Conversions and Viewing Activity Conversions columns, with a new conversion action called Store Visits added to the reports.

Note that the data is anonymized and aggregated, so the numbers will not be exact.

Google documentation indicates that the reports will become more accurate with larger datasets, and recommends reporting for periods of at least 100 store visits.

It’s time to set up your offline transfers

If you’re not already taking advantage of this feature, consider how offline conversion tracking can help improve your PPC efforts.

Do you have multiple steps in your lead nurturing process that you don’t currently attribute to Google Ads conversions?

Do new customers frequently call your business as the first point of contact?

Does your business see frequent sales at physical locations?

While the legal work of preparing to import conversion data offline can be somewhat involved, the payoff makes the process worthwhile.

Ultimately, you will be able to provide more accurate data to the platform to better optimize it around accurate conversions.

More resources:

  • Google Ads has a new way to measure your offline leads
  • How to make paid search work for B2B marketing
  • A Complete PPC Marketing Guide for Beginners

Featured image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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