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TPE #25: fix bad lead quality with Offline Conversion Tracking (OCT)

Jan 09, 2023

Read time: 3 minutes

Bad lead quality can be one of the biggest challenges for Lead Gen advertisers. Some verticals - such as law, insurance, and software - can already be crazy expensive in terms of Cost per Lead (CPL) averages. Not to mention the impact of low lead-to-sale conversions on your eventual Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). 

Luckily there’s a way to improve your Lead Quality and decrease your CAC, called: Offline Conversion Tracking. Also known as OCT. 

Importing offline conversions gives you a more comprehensive look at which campaigns, keywords, and other dimensions drive the most sales. And which don’t. This data helps you and the algorithms to optimize your campaigns for increased profit. 

OCT closes the loop from lead to closed deal.

Image: lead to sale journey (Google)


When to use OCT

Here are some examples of when you want to use Offline Conversion Tracking:


  1. When you are a Lead Gen advertiser
    … and close each sale offline (e.g. over the phone or in person) and want to import the closed deals with the actual revenue and/or net profit into Google Ads.

  2. When you are an E-commerce advertiser
    … and close each sale online but cannot use Google’s standard JavaScript-based conversion tracking scripts (e.g. because it didn’t fire due to a script blocker) and want to import these otherwise missed conversions into Google Ads.

  3. When you are a SaaS advertiser
    … and want to leverage Value Based Bidding (VBB), because not every customer represents the same CLV (e.g. because of different churn rates). This makes it possible to switch from tCPA to tROAS and let the algorithm bid more aggressively for more valuable customers and vice versa. 


Image: OCT conversion action with forecasted CLV based on custom framework (Bob)


How to configure OCT

There are basically 4 different ways to set up Offline Conversion Tracking:


  1. Directly through Google Ads Conversion Import
    1. Conversions from clicks using Google Click Identifier (GCLID)
    2. Enhanced Conversions for Leads (ECL)
  2. Google Ads Conversion Import for Salesforce®
  3. Zapier offline conversion tracking
  4. HubSpot’s Google Ads optimization events tool 


Most of the time, you’ll be using the native Google Ads Conversion Import. I’m particularly a fan of Enhanced Conversion for Leads since this saves you lots of time (and custom development).

This method is way easier than using conversion from clicks using GCLID. Instead, it uses information already captured in your lead forms by implementing Enhanced Conversions. It doesn’t require you to modify your lead forms, and your CRM doesn’t need to receive a Google Click ID (GCLID) parameter.

Google has written a very practical how-to for both methods:

  1. Instructions for setting up Offline Conversion imports using Google Click ID (GCLID).
  2. Instructions for setting up Enhanced Conversions for Leads (ECL).

We’re also going to touch on this in detail within our next Google Ads Masterclass.


To include or not to include

In my opinion, every Lead Gen advertiser should leverage OCT for analysis and reporting purposes. For example, to calculate the actual ROI of your Google Ads campaigns and see where the signed quotations are coming from. 

Ideally, you’d want to swap your primary conversion actions from your Google Ads conversion pixel (e.g. filled in forms) to your Offline Conversion Import conversion action. This way, you can leverage Smart Bidding to optimize towards your closed deals instead of (unqualified) leads. Most of the time, this will greatly benefit your ROI since Smart Bidding will cut away the trash leads.

There’s one big but. By switching your primary conversion to your OCT conversion action, you will greatly reduce your conversion volumes. This will impact your Smart Bidding. Especially if you’re running low on conversion volume. In my experience, you need at least 10 OCT conversions per campaign per month to make it work.

If you’re not hitting these thresholds, you can consolidate your campaigns if reasonable to increase your campaign level conversion volume. You can also think about switching to a different OCT category to increase conversion volumes (e.g. from closed deals to Sales Qualified Leads). This will have a negative impact on your lead quality and ROI, though.


Flipping the switch

If you flip the switch, it’s important to consider the following.

  1. Import your Offline Conversions as frequently as possible. Preferable daily.
  2. Don’t turn on Smart Bidding immediately after switching to the primary OCT conversion action. Upload your Offline Conversions first and wait for the length of your conversion window to complete.
  3. If you’re uploading the revenue or profit of your closed deals, you can consider testing with Value-Based Bidding (tROAS strategy) since you’ve got a conversion value in place.


Recap and final notes

Importing Offline Conversions gives you a more comprehensive look at which campaigns, keywords, and other dimensions drive the most sales. And which don’t. This data helps you and the algorithms to optimize your campaigns for increased profit. 

If you’re a Lead Gen advertiser, you should be implementing this as soon as possible (if you haven’t already). Enhanced Conversions for Leads (ECL) is the easiest way to set it up. 

Good luck and see you again next week!

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