OFFLINE CONVERSION TRACKING: How retailers can measure them in three efficient ways
Verena Voss, Marketing Manager
Published on 18.09.2020
Tracking offline conversions – Is that even possible?
The problem: If a retailer doesn’t have an online store or offers its products both online and in physical stores, how is it ultimately possible to know what sales can be traced back to a marketing campaign? Example: What to do when a Facebook marketing
campaign that links to your online store, performs poorly, but your offline sales have doubled since you started using Facebook advertising? Is that proof enough to confirm the effectiveness of the Facebook campaign?
Facebook describes an offline conversion as follows:
Transactions that occur at your physical business location and in other offline channels after others have seen or dealt with your Facebook advertisements.
Even though more and more people are shopping online today, 95% of purchases still take place in physical stores. Older generations in particular prefer to purchase products in person on site rather than online. Users often search for information at home or on their smartphone, for example on Google, but the actual purchase is then made in the store.
This shows how important it is to track offline conversions in order to measure the correlation between online advertising and in-store sales. Based on such a measurement, one can then adjust and optimize the current marketing measures (Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc.) and thereby generate more sales.
So how does Offline Conversion Tracking work?
There are several ways to assign a customer who purchases a product in a physical store to a marketing campaign. Here are three methods for Offline Conversion Tracking:
1. Tracking the estimated store visits of PPC ad clicks
At the end of 2014, an estimation of store visits in Google’s conversion tracking in AdWords (today: Google ads) was introduced.
The concept is simple: Link a verified store location from Google Maps to your AdWords account, and Google will provide an estimated number of store visits within 30 days of clicking on your PPC ads.
Google does this by aggregating data from smartphone users who have enabled location tracking and are logged into Google.
Although this is only an estimate, this method shows which PPC campaigns attract more visitors to save and are therefore likely to have a greater impact than their mere online conversion rate would suggest.
2. Click and Collect
Click and Collect is not only a tracking method for offline conversions, but is also generally expected by many customers as an improvement to the shopping experience. This means that the customer can already reserve the desired product online and then only needs to go to the physical store to pick up the reserved product.
Click and Collect also generates data about customers and products – showing which customers shop where and when. This data can be used to optimize a marketing campaign.
The concept of coupons is not new, but many retailers do not realize that even coupons can be used as a method to measure offline conversions.
The basic concept is as follows: A consumer sees an advertisement, such as on Facebook or Google, for a coupon that offers a discount on one or more products (e.g. 20% off the purchase). He clicks on the ad and is redirected to a personalized landing page where he has to enter his data, such as his name and email address, in order to receive the coupon. A coupon can be a mobile coupon (on the cell phone), a coupon that has to be printed or a customer card.
This conversion is already tracked online and a lead is generated. It is now up to the customer to go into the physical store with the coupon and redeem it. When he does so, the offline conversion is measured and can be traced back to the online conversion. So you can clearly see which marketing campaign has what impact on offline sales.
Based on the measured conversions and customer data, the campaign can now be continuously optimized, the right target groups can be addressed, retargeting campaigns can be run and the ROAS can be increased. All this ultimately leads to an increase in sales.