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Closing the Loop with Offline Conversion Tracking

On-site tracking for AdWords and Facebook are relatively comprehensive. Now, advertisers are looking for ways to tie offline actions and CRM data to digital interactions.

In the past few years, Google's AdWords platform and Facebook's Ad Manager have acknowledged this challenge, developing their offline conversion tracking offerings and allowing advertisers to better prove the value of their efforts.

Offline conversion tracking on AdWords and Facebook falls into two main categories:

  1. CRM & Lead Data Import
  2. In-Store Visits

Let's take a closer look at each.

Offline Conversion Tracking and CRM/Lead Data Import

While many businesses offer a product or service where a click-and-convert buying cycle is the norm, for others, it's not so simple. B2B or B2G providers, for example, may require weeks or months of lead nurturing after the initial touchpoint is made. 

Typically, those products and services with longer buying cycles also carry higher values, thus increasing the advertiser’s need to accurately close the loop and attribute them to their originating source.

Both Adwords and Facebook have addressed these needs — first with a more manual solution, and, more recently, rolling out direct integrations with some of the most popular CRMs available.

AdWords

AdWords’ offline conversion tracking solution originated, and still exists today, as a manual import feature. A spreadsheet can be directly uploaded with pertinent data to link an action to its originating click.

Using the unique AdWords GCLID, which stores all of the data associated with each ad click, you can essentially tell the AdWords system where to assign credit for a particular  action. Whether it be a form fill, a customer sign-up or any other valuable action, you can properly credit the right campaign, keyword and ad uploaded with the associated GCLID for clicks occurring in the past 90 days.  

This upload can be done for click actions, phone calls, and even in-store purchases, as well.

Pro tip: A great way to keep lead-stored info associated with an AdWords click is by capturing the GCLID as a “hidden field” in the lead form. This stores the GCLID with the customer’s given information within the CRM. 

While this typically requires some light development work, the added lead and customers insights are typically well worth the extra effort. Google even provides a general framework for this implementation to get you started.

Facebook

Similar to AdWords, Facebook allows advertisers to upload data through an “offline event set” via the Business Manager.

Instead of relying on a unique click ID, as AdWords does, Facebook asks advertisers to upload hashed data containing unique information about the event or action to which you are trying to attribute a campaign. This includes a time stamp for the event, an event name and a unique ID associated with each event.

Integrated CRMs

Recent platform developments have centered around API integrations with the top CRMs to further the ease of attribution without all of the manual leg work.  

Typically, an authentication via the ad platform, followed by the CRM itself, will successfully sync the two and automatically pass desired actions for attribution at the campaign, keyword and ad level.  

Here is an overview of the current CRM integrations for Adwords and Facebook:


In-Store Visits & Beacons

Another common challenge digital advertisers face is tying together online efforts with in-person purchases and interactions.  

Since many consumers prefer the online research process but still favor an in-store purchase experience, it is essential to be able to measure the impact one has on the other.  

It may be even more crucial to many businesses that conduct strictly in person, as investing in online advertising that could not be measured as effectively can now be done with more confidence.

AdWords

Store Visits has now been a staple of AdWords tracking for several years, rolling out initially as a beta for select advertisers and now becoming more widely available.  

For the most part, Store Visits tracking relies on mobile GPS data for users logged into their Google accounts. In the past year, Google has even experimented with beacon technology to attempt to improve its technology’s accuracy, providing them to some advertisers to help attribute their own foot traffic while fine-tuning the location-based algorithm on the whole.

In order to maximize certainty, Google has some data and feature requirements, including a minimum amount of clicks and proper usage/verification of Google My Business listing.  

For advertisers that can reach these thresholds, Store Visits can provide a great primary or secondary metric to attribute value to campaigns and better optimize their digital efforts.

Facebook

Though slightly late to the game, Facebook has also rolled out its own Store Visits, a unique campaign objective designed to entice those within a radius of your business or store.  

Using a number of signals including geo and beacon technology to attribute physical visits to an advertiser’s location, Facebook is able to leverage its high mobile dominance and attribute foot traffic to Store Visit campaigns.


To better help advertisers grow their brick-and-mortar foot traffic, Facebook has also created a number of localized ad formats and calls-to-action.

Facebook also has their own requirements for multiple locations with their own Business Locations set in the Facebook Business Manager.  To achieve their own level of confidence and certainty, they also require significant data to attribute Store Visits to ad campaigns.

Is your brand effectively tracking offline conversions? 

Drop us a line if you have a question — you can find us on Twitter at @silverbackstrat.