Guide to Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics

How you can optimize your online marketing campaigns for conversions, if majority or all of your conversions are happening offline?

This is a very common problem for the service industry where businesses use websites and online marketing campaigns to promote and sell their services (internet marketing, conversion optimization, accounting, legal services etc).

This is also a very common problem for businesses which promote very high priced products (like properties, automobiles, yacht, machinery etc) online but sales can be made only offline. 

In order to optimize your marketing campaigns for offline conversions, you need to create a ‘system through which you can correlate offline conversions with your online marketing data (traffic source, clicks, impressions, cost, sales).

Once you can correlate your offline conversion data with online marketing data, you can determine the campaigns, ad groups, ads and/or keywords which are driving offline conversions and sales.

You can then target / bid on them more aggressively or change your marketing strategy to drive even more offline conversions. 

Website leads

Websites where majority of conversions happen offline, often rely on leads generation for driving sales.

The two most common type of leads for any lead generation website are:

#1 Web form leads – These are the leads generated through the lead submission form embedded on your website.

#2 Web Phone call Leads – these are the leads generated through the phone numbers embedded on your website.

Both web form leads and phone call leads can be further classified into:

#1 Qualified leads – leads which meet your customer profile.

# 2 Won leads – qualified leads which converted into actual sales

# 3 Lost Leads – qualified leads lost to competition or because of bureaucracy, office politics or other operational / management inefficiency.

In order to optimize online marketing campaigns for offline conversions, you need to track these leads.

However there is no point tracking lost leads in Google Analytics / Adwords, as you can’t optimize online campaigns for them.

Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a tool which is used to track and manage leads and all of the information related to leads.

You need a CRM tool (like salesforce) which can capture lead data from your website and send it to Google Analytics and Adwords.

You can do without CRM, but then your offline conversion tracking is going to be very basic.

If you wish to track web form leads as conversions in Google Analytics, then read this article: Learn to track qualified and won leads in Google Analytics

If you wish to track phone call leads as conversions in Google Analytics, then read this article: Phone Call Tracking in Google Analytics and beyond

Using Coupons for tracking offline leads online

One cheap way to track offline leads online is by using coupons.

Use different coupons for each advertising medium or traffic source.

So when a user redeem your coupon during checkout (whether online or offline), you would know exactly where the lead came from.

Coupon also provide incentive to users to convert into sales.

If you are advertising on Radio or TV then make sure that your coupon expire within few hours.

This will create urgency to buy and result in more sales.

Using Vanity URLs for tracking offline conversions online

A vanity URL is a short and easy to remember URL which is advertised via outdoor, print, transit or electronic media ads.

A vanity URL is generally used when you are advertising a particular product or offer via: Outdoor, Print, Transit or Electronic media and you want to track the impact of these offline marketing activities on your website traffic and sales.

A vanity URL is generally made up of your domain name and your offer/product name.

So if your domain name is ‘abc.com’ and your offer name is ‘spring sales 2016’, then you can create following vanity URL: abc.com/SpringSales2016.

A vanity URL can also be made up of just your offer or product name.

In that case consider setting up a new website whose domain name is the same as your offer or product name.

For example, if your offer name is ‘ABC Spring Sales 2016’ then you can set up a new website whose domain name is: abcSpringSales2016.com.

Use a unique vanity URL for each individual offline traffic source or medium so that later you can segment the lead/sales data by source or medium.

Here is an example of a vanity URL which can be used on a TV ad: abc.com/TVsale2016.

This is an example of the vanity URL which can be used on an outdoor ad: abc.com/sale2016. 

Here is how vanity URL works:

#1 A person see a vanity URL being advertised on a medium, for example on TV.

#2 The person memorizes the brand name and the offer name and then later searches your brand name and offer on search engines like Google.

It is worth pointing out that people generally do not remember the exact vanity URL.

What they do remember is the brand name and the offer name.

Therefore, they are most likely to search for your brand name and offer name on search engines like Google, instead of directly typing your vanity URL in their web browser.

Because of this it is important that your vanity URL appears on search engines (both paid and organic search) for your brand name and offer name before you start promoting it via offline media.

#3 The person clicks on your vanity URL from the search engine result page.

As soon as the person visits the vanity URL they are automatically redirected to your designated landing page.

The URL of the landing page contains campaign tracking parameters (and it should, unless you are using a custom domain).

Through these tracking parameters, you can determine the original source of the lead in Google Analytics.

For example, if the vanity URL for your TV ad is abc.com/TVsale2016 then it can redirect to the URL with campaign tracking parameters, like the one below:

www.abc.com/men/shirts/sales?SearchTerm=&SortBy=Default&Size=&Colour=&PageSize=20&utm_source=tv&utm_medium=offline&utm_content=sept20-2016-night-9pm&utm_campaign=baller

By reading theses campaign tracking parameters in the URL, both you and Google Analytics would know that the lead/sales generated from the TV ad which aired on 20 September 2016 at 9pm during the ‘Baller’ program.

If you do not use the campaign tracking parameters, then it is likely that you will not be able to determine the original source of the traffic/sales/lead.

Next Read: Tracking offline conversions in Google Adwords

Announcement about my books

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Himanshu Sharma

Certified web analyst and founder of OptimizeSmart.com

My name is Himanshu Sharma and I help businesses find and fix their Google Analytics and conversion issues. If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

  • Over eleven years' experience in SEO, PPC and web analytics
  • Google Analytics certified
  • Google AdWords certified
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Award for Excellence
  • Bachelors degree in Internet Science
  • Founder of OptimizeSmart.com and EventEducation.com

I am also the author of three books:

error: Content is protected !!