Bad lead quality can be a major challenge for Lead Gen advertisers, especially in expensive verticals like law, insurance, and software, where Cost per Lead (CPL) averages can be high. Low lead-to-sale conversions can also have a significant impact on Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). Fortunately, there is a solution to improve lead quality and decrease CAC: Offline Conversion Tracking (OCT).
By importing offline conversions, Lead Gen advertisers can gain a more comprehensive look at which campaigns, keywords, and other dimensions drive the most sales and which ones do not. This data can help advertisers and algorithms optimize their campaigns for increased profit. OCT closes the loop from lead to closed deal.
When to Use OCT
There are several scenarios in which advertisers can benefit from using Offline Conversion Tracking:
- When you are a Lead Gen advertiser and close each sale offline, such as over the phone or in person, and want to import the closed deals with the actual revenue and/or net profit into Google Ads.
- When you are a SaaS advertiser and want to leverage Value-Based Bidding (VBB) because not every customer represents the same Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) due to different churn rates. This makes it possible to switch from Target Cost per Acquisition (tCPA) to Target Return on Ad Spend (tROAS) and let the algorithm bid more aggressively for more valuable customers and vice versa.
How to Configure OCT
There are four different ways to set up Offline Conversion Tracking:
- Directly through Google Ads Conversion Import
- Conversions from clicks using Google Click Identifier (GCLID)
- Enhanced Conversions for Leads (ECL)
- Google Ads Conversion Import for Salesforce, Zapier offline conversion tracking, and HubSpot’s Google Ads optimization events tool.
Most of the time, advertisers use the native Google Ads Conversion Import. Enhanced Conversions for Leads is particularly recommended since it saves time and eliminates the need for custom development. This method is much easier than conversion from clicks using GCLID because it uses information already captured in lead forms by implementing Enhanced Conversions.
To Include or Not to Include
In the author’s opinion, every Lead Gen advertiser should leverage OCT for analysis and reporting purposes, such as calculating the actual Return on Investment (ROI) of Google Ads campaigns and determining where signed quotations are coming from. Ideally, advertisers would want to switch their primary conversion actions from their Google Ads conversion pixel (such as filled-in forms) to their Offline Conversion Import conversion action. This way, Smart Bidding can optimize towards closed deals instead of unqualified leads, greatly benefiting ROI by cutting away trash leads.
However, switching to the primary OCT conversion action greatly reduces conversion volumes, which can impact Smart Bidding, especially when conversion volumes are low. The author suggests having at least ten OCT conversions per campaign per month to make it work. If conversion volumes are low, advertisers can consolidate campaigns to increase conversion volume, or switch to a different OCT category to increase conversion volumes, but this negatively impacts lead quality and ROI.
Flipping the Switch
If advertisers decide to flip the switch, they should:
- Import Offline Conversions as frequently
- Before immediately turning on Smart Bidding after switching to the primary OCT conversion action, it is recommended to upload your Offline Conversions and wait for the conversion window to complete. This will provide you with a more complete understanding of which dimensions are driving the most sales and which ones are not.
- If you are uploading the revenue or profit of closed deals, you can consider testing with Value-Based Bidding, specifically the tROAS strategy, since you already have a conversion value in place.
By importing Offline Conversions, you gain valuable insights that can be used to optimize your campaigns for increased profit. This is especially important for Lead Gen advertisers who should consider implementing Enhanced Conversions for Leads (ECL) as soon as possible.
In conclusion, taking the time to upload Offline Conversions can provide you with valuable data to improve your campaign performance and maximize your profits.