Offline Conversion Tracking for Google AdWords

If you’re not an e-commerce business – meaning, your customers’ purchases don’t take place online – and you’re trying to determine exactly what your Google AdWords campaign is doing for you, without the proper tracking in place, it’s difficult, or impossible to answer this question.

Tracking form fill-ins or phone calls is not enough! In fact, not only is it not enough, oftentimes if you’re only tracking leads, and not sales, the work that you do to optimize your AdWords account could be entirely counterproductive.

Now, before I lose you because you think you’re way ahead of the curve because you track all sorts of leads and even micro-conversions like catalog downloads, newsletter signups or dealer locator searches, let me explain myself.

Let’s use an example of a business that sells various types of window coverings.

google adwords offline conversion tracking



If you look at this in a vacuum, you’d take a look at cost per lead and determine which types of keywords are performing the best and which ones are performing the worst. You may then make some adjustments to get more traffic from the keywords that are producing a lower cost per lead and less traffic from keywords that are producing a higher cost per lead.

But there are two key factors that you’re not taking into account if you’re just looking at this data:


  • Average order size (or maybe even profit margin) for different types of keywords/products
  • Closing ratio (percentage of leads that turn into sales) for different types of keywords/products

So here’s how it looks with more data added onto it:

google adwords offline conversion tracking ROAS



So in our first example, ‘best’ to ‘worst’ looked like:

  1. Draperies
  2. Shutters
  3. Blinds
  4. Shades

In our second example, if we use Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) as our best key performance metrics, it actually looks like this:


  1. Shutters
  2. Shades
  3. Blinds
  4. Draperies

In my experience, clients typically don’t provide us with reliable information in terms of closing rate, average sale or even profit margin segmented by different types of products or keywords. So this necessitates having an offline tracking system in place.

The first thing to understand about setting up an offline tracking system for AdWords is the concept of a Google Click ID, or GCLID. Every AdWords click (when auto-tagging is enabled) has its own unique GCLID – a long alphanumeric string of characters.

With our clients, we can capture this GCLID and assign it to individual form fill-ins or phone calls. We then set up specific type of integration where all leads – both phone calls & form fill-ins live. We’ll either work to integrate the leads with a client’s existing CRM (customer relationship management) software, or, a very simple way of doing this is to have all AdWords leads funneled into a shared Google Sheet. The client can then indicate whether individual calls or form fill-ins result in a sale, the amount of revenue (or gross profit) generated from the sale, and then we take that sale/profit amount, connect it with the GCLID and import it back into AdWords. This allows us to see which areas of the account are generated sales, revenue & profit.

In the example above we looked at different types of keywords/products. But when we import the GCLID & revenue back into the AdWords account, we can see which cities, zip/postal codes, types of devices, ads, days of the week, times of the day, etc.. are generating sales/revenue.

The reality that we’ve noticed over the years is that most small- to mid-sized businesses don’t put in the little bit of time effort to provide us with this feedback on which leads are actually converting. For the most part, business owners are simply happy when they’ve found advertising that they’re confident is working. The main purpose in putting an offline tracking system in place is to make something that is already good, great! 


About Steve Gould

Steve Gould is the President of Fidelity Internet Marketing. We help small- and mid-sized business owners understand what web marketing is all about & drive qualified visitors to their website that turn into customers.