Offline conversion tracking: The new approach to advertising growth

Setting up offline conversion tracking can help mitigate the imminent problems arising from the death of third-party cookies.

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Offline conversion tracking

Many of us have been in the scenario where the CMO and marketing team are reporting more website leads, but at the same time, the sales team are reporting the same, or fewer opportunities.

The issue has been that there is a disconnect between website conversions and then the subsequent process for what happens when these website conversions are passed into the CRM (offline). Unfortunately, marketing teams often have no full-funnel visibility or transparency on what is truly driving performance and therefore cannot manage activity to effectively support growth. Because of this lacking handoff, the full funnel can never truly be optimised.

How can we fix the sub-par handoffs?

This has now changed with offline conversion tracking (OCT). Four or five years ago, offline conversion tracking was the dream for most marketers. The idea of being able to pass performance data back through the CRM, to advertising platforms such as Google Ads, would mean that optimisation could be focused on what is truly driving value. Essentially, the focus is drawn to the best key phrases for customer value, over the key phrases that are getting initial clicks, but not necessarily driving long-term value and growth.

Imagine a situation where you know which keywords are driving incredible opportunities, and not just an initial form fill. It could change the way we manage our advertising activity, allowing for better decisions that are focused on growth, not just vanity website conversions.

A better understanding of how it all works

If you haven’t heard of OCT before, the above may sound very technical. In the simplest form, when a user clicks on an ad, Google assigns a Google Click Identifier (GCLID), which is a parameter that is assigned in the URL and carries attributes such as keywords, ad group, campaign etc. When a user fills out a form, this GCLID gets captured in a hidden form field so that it can be subsequently passed on to the CRM.

Once this invaluable data is in your CRM, the GCLID must then be stored alongside company/customer information as it progresses through the sales funnel (some CRM’s do this automatically – like HubSpot for example). Then, when a company/customer reaches the opportunity stage, this information is passed back to Google as a conversion.

The conversion creation itself has been made simple by Google and even simpler by Search Engine Journal, who have created a step-by-step guide on how to create the conversion itself.

Offline Conversion Tracking - Google Ads Creating a conversion

(Source: A screenshot showcasing the steps on creating a conversion within Google Ads, 2022)

How to set up offline conversion tracking

Again, a few years ago this was very difficult and usually involved spreadsheets and/or middleware. The ability to implement OCT has come a very long way, especially for Google Ads, with many CRM systems now having direct integrations, allowing OCT to be set up with the click of a button.

If your CRM doesn’t have a direct integration with Google Ads, the implementation of OCT becomes a little more difficult and will require support from your CRM provider and data transfer/automation software such as Zapier – Cremarc’s preferred product.

How will OCT be affected by the cookieless future?

The least breaking marketing news, yes, third-party cookies will be going and with it, all our user behaviour data! Marketing analytics, full-funnel visibility and reporting are all going to change forever – that is clear. But any marketers that don’t believe they need to pivot to a performance-driven approach, are kidding themselves. It’s the vital evolution of a marketer in 2023. Until now, we’ve had performance marketers and brand managers battling it out. Really, the focus this year should be combing the two with a focus of the full funnel and driving valuable conversions.

OCT ties into the death of third-party cookies because we will still be able to capture information on users, but only when they convert. Being able to really understand the user has always been critical in marketing, but it will be even more important moving forwards.

We will no longer be able to understand how users interact with our website, but at least we can focus our marketing activity on what is driving growth for the business. This is the shift we need to make. This could even be a positive, because marketers won’t be distracted by vanity metrics and will only be able to focus on the exact processes and activities that are driving the valuable growth.

Regardless of the removal of third-party cookies, OCT should be one of the simplest things to implement. Surely the concept of optimising further down the marketing funnel creates an opportunity to drive further performance. And nothing is more important than results.

If you would like to set up OCT and mitigate the imminent problems arising from the death of third-party cookies, the experts at Cremarc can piece together a bespoke package or a monthly support plan to help your organisation drive towards valuable conversions. Get in touch today!

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