Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics – Tutorial

Table of Contents for Offline Conversion Tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Using coupons for tracking offline leads online
  2. Using vanity URLs for tracking offline conversions online

How can you optimize your online marketing campaigns for conversions if the majority, or all, of your conversions happen 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 that 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 that 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. 

Websites where the 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 that 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.

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In order to optimize online marketing campaigns for offline conversions, you need to track these leads. However, there is no point in tracking lost leads in Google Analytics / Google Ads, as you can’t optimize online campaigns for them.

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

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

Coupons also provide an incentive for users to convert into sales. If you are advertising on Radio or TV then make sure that your coupon expires within a few hours. This will create urgency to buy and result in more sales.

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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 the 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 that can be used on a TV ad: abc.com/TVsale2016.
This is an example of a vanity URL that can be used on an outdoor ad: abc.com/sale2016. 

Here is how a 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.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook

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Other articles on specialized tracking in Google Analytics

  1. Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking Tutorial
  2. Google Tag Manager Event Tracking Tutorial
  3. Google Analytics Event Tracking Tutorial
  4. Google Analytics Store Visits Tracking Tutorial
  5. Ecommerce Tracking Google Tag Manager (GTM) – Tutorial
  6. Tracking Virtual Pageviews in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  7. Google Tag Manager YouTube Video Tracking
  8. How to unlock not provided keywords in Google Analytics?
  9. Google Analytics Virtual Pageviews Tutorial
  10. Google Analytics and YouTube Integration Tutorial
  11. Google Analytics for Facebook Tutorial
  12. Cross Domain Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  13. How to use two Google Analytics codes on one page
  14. The one thing that you don’t know about PayPal.com and the referral exclusion list
  15. Google Analytics Calculated Metrics – Tutorial
  16. Creating your own Google Analytics Tag Auditing System
  17. Google Tag Manager Search Tracking without Query Parameter
  18. Tracking Google Analytics Paypal Referral and other payment gateways
  19. How to Track Phone Calls in Google Analytics – Call Tracking Tutorial
  20. How to track leads in Google Analytics via CRM
  21. Postbacks in Google Analytics Explained
  22. Subscription & Recurring Revenue Analytics in Google Analytics
  23. Track the Impact of Google Analytics Cookie Consent on Website Traffic
  24. Tracking Offline Conversions in Google Ads
  25. Implementing Scroll Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  26. Scroll Depth Tracking in Google Tag Manager – Tutorial
  27. Site Search Tracking In Google Analytics Without Query Parameters
  28. Google Tag Manager Youtube Video Tracking via YouTube Video Trigger
  29. How to Correctly Measure Conversion Date & Time in Google Analytics
  30. Google Analytics Social Tracking – Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn
  31. Cross Domain Tracking in Google Analytics – Complete Guide
  32. Google Analytics Linkedin & Twitter Tracking
  33. Creating Content Group in Google Analytics via tracking code using gtag.js
  34. Google Analytics Site Search Tracking via Query Parameters
  35. Google Analytics Site Search Tracking Tutorial
  36. Creating and Using Site Search Funnel in Google Analytics
  37. Learn to Setup Facebook Pixel Tracking via Google Tag Manager
  38. AMP Google Analytics Tracking – Learn to track AMP pages
  39. Setting up Sales Funnel across websites in Google Analytics
  40. Regex Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager – Tutorial

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About the Author

Himanshu Sharma

  • Founder, OptimizeSmart.com
  • Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
  • Author of four best-selling books on digital analytics and conversion optimization
  • Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Awards for Excellence
  • Runs one of the most popular blogs in the world on digital analytics
  • Consultant to countless small and big businesses over the decade
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