Offline conversion tracking: Realising the full ROI of your PPC activity
AdWords launched offline conversion tracking back in 2013 but I still feel it’s underutilised in the industry. So many companies are still only viewing the results of their accounts through a keyhole without realising the full value of their marketing efforts.
If your business tracks leads online but has no idea which keywords actually led to a full sale then you need this in your life. Setting this up will instantly tell you the true value of your paid search campaign and will enable you to decide if you’re pushing budget into the right areas.
You’ll want to use this if you currently track:
• Leads (enquiry form, contact us, book an appointment)
• Whitepaper, catalogue, brochure downloads or similar
• Quotes but not full sales
By pulling the Google Click ID (GCLID) from your user’s URL and adding this into a hidden field in your online forms the mystery can be solved. Google is able to track all your keyword and ad interaction using a unique identifier called the Google Click ID.
All you need to do is track that lead through your system, categorise it along the way to know when it’s a hot prospect or when it’s turned into an actual sale and then you can import this data back into AdWords through an Excel upload. This can either be set up manually or you can use the Google API to import conversion data directly into AdWords.
It may sound complicated but it’s actually fairly simple and with a few tweaks to your internal systems this data should be easily traceable. You’ll finally be able to tell if someone who came in via PPC and downloaded a whitepaper actually went on to convert later down the line.
I must add that this is much easier for larger companies who already have a CRM system set up (eg Salesforce). If you’re a small or medium sized business that doesn’t have a CRM system in place it might take a little longer to set up but there’s no need to over complicate it.
Essentially all you need is the GCLID, to have someone add notes to a file if that user led to a sale, then to add in a conversion type and date in order to add this data back into AdWords.
I firmly believe it is worth looking into setting up a system to track this, even if it’s the most simplistic method. Ultimately, if you’re pushing budget into AdWords, you should know what return you’re getting from it, so that there can be no question of its true value to your business.
This system will also work with phone call tracking so that even if a user didn’t fill out a form you can track if they came in from a PPC ad. If you’re using a call tracking system this should be able to pull in the GCLID and then you can tie this in with the user’s information to compile a sheet of data to add back into AdWords in a similar way.
The launch of Universal Analytics this year also gave us this functionality to import conversions back into Google Analytics. In this way you could be importing sales from multiple offline sources if you are aware of where they came from. You just need to attribute a source to them.
Let me leave you with this closing thought: When reassessing your AdWords budgets for next year, consider if you really know how much value it’s driving for you. Plan to spend a bit more on developer time to get this tracking working and you’ll be able to plan budgets for different marketing channels based on real results rather than assumptions of how many leads turn into sales.
Rebekah Schelfhout, associate head of PPC, Periscopix
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