How to tie online ads to offline sales with Google AdWords

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Google made a very important announcement about AdWords and its offline conversion tracking tool a little while back. Put simply, it issues a click ID on every ad click that is sent to your website so that you can then take any leads generated and track them by that click, then eventually upload that click data back to AdWords to find out which ads resulted in actual sales, not just leads.

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The example cited was inputting the click ID into your sales CRM so that a lead that’s been worked by a sales person or outside of the clickstream can still be tracked back to the original ad. Fairly straightforward and very important, since you ultimately want to know if an ad has performed, even if your sales cycle is long or complex.

There’s a bigger picture than this, however. That click ID could be used in a variety of different ways to radically change and improve your offline business. Let’s look at 3 potential use-cases.

1. Hook click ID to coupon redemption. When a click goes through your website to a printable coupon, stamp the click ID on the coupon. That way, retail sales can be tracked back to redeemed coupons. This is fantastic for brick and mortar retailers who need to bond offline and online. The coupon number is the click ID, and now you know exactly which ads are bringing the customers who are making real purchases.

2. Hook click ID to membership systems for winbacks. Got a member who has lapsed? When you run ads, tie the click ID to membership IDs to see who came back because of your ads. This is fantastic for membership sites, especially if you’ve already got an existing database of lapsed members you are trying to remarket to. This also helps you understand whether ads were part of the winback cycle or whether they are ineffective for reaching existing members.

3. Run an analysis of your database for sales with and without click IDs. Do people who come in via advertisements spend less or more than people who come in via other methods? This will give you insight into your offline funnel.

The power of click ID cannot be overstated very much. It transforms Google’s AdWords from aggregate data down to personally identifying information that you can use to examine any individual order that comes in via the AdWords channel, and that’s a huge deal.

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