Tracking conversions is both a necessity and a challenge. Recent developments in the digital ecosystem, such as the iOS updates, particularly Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), along with the ongoing debate surrounding cookie deprecation, have significantly complicated the process of understanding the impact of online ads on offline conversions.
One of the prevalent methods used for offline conversion tracking has been the Google Click Identifier (GCLID). However, with iOS updates actively stripping ad clicks of crucial parameters and identifiers, this method has faced limitations, leaving marketers searching for a more robust and sustainable solution.
Today, we’ll explore a GCLID-less alternative–enhanced conversions for leads, which offers a way to track offline conversions without the reliance on parameters affected by these changes.
Offline conversions are any conversions driven from online sources that do not happen online.
Let’s delve into the idea of offline conversions in the context of a mortgage company. Imagine this company runs online ads to attract potential homebuyers. These ads grab the attention of people actively looking for mortgages. Curious, they click on the ads to learn more about what the company offers. In addition, to stay in touch, these interested folks often complete a contact form on the company’s website, sharing their email addresses and phone numbers.
Afterward, these prospects might take the next step by visiting the mortgage company’s local office to meet with a loan officer, discuss mortgage options, and initiate the application process. Eventually, some of them secure mortgages and purchase their dream homes.
In this scenario, while the initial interaction with the mortgage company occurred online through the ad clicks, the ultimate conversion—the home purchase—happened offline.
Recognizing the significance of these offline conversions, it becomes clear that tracking them is indispensable.
Relying solely on online conversion data would neglect crucial insights into how online ads drive real-world actions like mortgage applications and home purchases.
To gain a holistic understanding of the effectiveness of their advertising efforts, businesses must measure these offline conversions.
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In the past, businesses often turned to the Google Click Identifier (GCLID) as a means of tracking offline conversions. This unique identifier, embedded in ad URLs, facilitated the connection between online ad engagements and subsequent offline activities, such as in-person meetings with loan officers and mortgage transactions.
However, given evolving digital landscapes and challenges, the reliability of GCLID for offline conversion tracking has faced scrutiny, prompting marketers to explore more resilient alternatives like enhanced conversions for leads.
Alright, let’s get our ducks in a row before diving into enhanced conversions for leads. Here’s what you’ll need:
Now, why are these things so important? Well, your website is ground zero for user interactions, GTM is the tool that helps you collect the data, and Google Ads is where you make sense of it all. They’re like the dream team for tracking your ads’ impact on offline conversions. So, make sure they’re in place before we roll up our sleeves and set this up.
Let’s break down the process of setting up a conversion action in Google Ads into a few simple steps:
This conversion action you’ve just created defines what you want to track as a conversion. It could be a completed purchase, a lead form submission, or any other action that you consider valuable to your business. Google Ads will now start tracking this specific action to help you measure its performance and optimize your ad campaigns accordingly.
Capturing user data like email and phone numbers is crucial for enhanced conversions because it allows you to connect online interactions with offline actions.
Here’s why it’s important:
To grab user data from your website’s lead forms, you can use different methods, including:
For this guide, let’s focus on using CSS Selectors.
To create a DOM Element variable in Google Tag Manager (phone number and email), follow these steps.
These DOM Element variables will capture the phone number and email address from your lead form based on the CSS selectors you provided. You can then use these variables to pass this data into your Google Ads account, facilitating the tracking of enhanced conversions for leads.
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Creating a Google Ads User-Provided Data Event Tag is essential for capturing user data and tracking offline conversions effectively. Here’s a straightforward guide to set it up:
Also, don’t forget to set up a Conversion Linker tag in GTM and configure it to fire on all pages. This tag is crucial for accurate click data and conversion measurement.
Once you’ve tracked the offline conversions, the final step is notifying Google Ads about them. This is crucial for the accurate measurement of your ad campaign’s effectiveness.
Here’s how to do it:
Automating this process from your CRM is not only more efficient but also more secure and scalable.
Setting up enhanced conversions for leads isn’t the only way to track offline conversions from Google Ads. Here are a few other options.
If your primary conversions are phone calls, you can use a call tracking number to identify how searchers found your business. Call tracking numbers are automatically generated based on how a prospect got to your website and allow you to see the source in your reporting.
For instance, if a prospect clicked to your website from an organic search result, the number generated would be different from one where a prospect clicked from a paid ad. This would then be reflected in your reporting so you could see the caller found your number from organic search.
This helps you keep track of offline conversions and see what channels are driving calls.
In some cases, you may be able to track offline conversions such as visits to your physical location. One way to do this is by using UTMs or QR codes that customers would bring in to use in-store.
You may also be eligible to set up store visit conversions in Google Ads. Learn more about that here.
In a nutshell, enhanced conversions for leads offer a straightforward way to track offline conversions resulting from your online ads. Just capture user data, create a Google Ads User-Provided Data Event Tag, and upload or send your conversions to Google Ads.
So, don’t wait around–implement it and watch your advertising insights soar. Your campaigns will thank you! 🚀
Alessandro is an accomplished digital marketing professional with over a decade of experience in various tech fields. He currently works as a Customer Success Manager at Google and teaches Digital Marketing at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. He also co-authored the book Becoming Artificial and writes articles for Philosophy Now Magazine and various digital marketing websites. You can learn more about Alessandro at alessandrocolarossi.com.
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