Ask your marketing team (or yourself, if you’re on the marketing team) this simple question: “How do you send offline conversions?”
If the answer is either, "We don’t" or “Via manual CSV uploads," then you have both a data security issue and an ads optimization issue. 😬
With third-party cookies sunsetting, ad blockers, and privacy-centric browsers like Brave, marketers are finding it more difficult than ever to measure campaigns AND critically send conversion data back to ad platforms for ads optimization around conversion actions.
In this attribution guide, we’ll show you how to set up Google offline conversions, a vital method to track and measure advertising efforts. Of course, Google offline conversions offer a semi-permanent fix for this tracking effort – there’s no guarantee they’ll be here forever, but my bottom dollar is we’ve got at least five years – but this is 🔑 to advertisers’ success in circumstances where it may be (extra) challenging to get attribution.
Note: This guide can serve as a template for sending offline conversions to Meta Ads, Twitter Ads, TikTok Ads, Reddit Ads, Microsoft Ads, GA4, LinkedIn Ads, and a variety of programmatic platforms like The Trade Desk, but we’ll start with using first-party data for Google Ads attribution via offline conversions.
With offline conversions, advertisers can send conversion data to Google Ads, allowing them to see a complete picture of the impact their advertising is having on their business. This data can also be used to optimize their campaigns by identifying which keywords, ad placements, and targeting strategies are driving the most valuable offline actions.
Putting this 👆 all together: Offline conversions build audiences (e.g., everybody who did the conversion action). Depending on where these users land in the conversion funnel, they can be used for remarketing or ad exclusions. And with offline conversion-based audiences, you can ensure you’re not annoying users with ads after they make a purchase. 🤪
The superpower of using first-party data for offline conversions is that you can blend different data entities. 🦸 Imagine this B2B use case:
Traditionally, a marketer would only capture the form submission, missing the critical quality association needed for better B2B ads optimization. But when they’re armed with the ability to track and measure offline conversions, advertisers can make more informed decisions about how to allocate their advertising budgets and improve the overall ROI of their online advertising efforts.
With third-party cookies sunsetting and ad blockers being built into devices (looking at you, iOS 14 and later 👀), gone are the days when a semi-technical marketer could set up conversions via Google Tag Manager or simple code placement on a site/in an app. Instead, first-party data sent as offline conversions is the best path to Google Ads attribution.
Keep in mind: First-party data spans different teams, so you’ll most likely need measurement champions from the following teams 👇
Once you have your dream team assembled, you can start sending Google Ads Attribution as offline conversions from your data warehouse (Snowflake, BigQuery, PostGres, Redshift, MySQL, etc.) to Google Ads. Note that this method only works if you have a data warehouse, but if not, you can also use Google Sheets in a pinch. 🤏
Of course, like everything in life, there’s the traditional (but difficult) way to do this — or you can take the new, easy-breezy approach. 😏
Setting up Google offline conversions with a conversion API involves a few steps and requires some technical expertise. Here’s a general overview of the process, but we’ll leave the nitty-gritty technical write-up of this to Google.
Again, this is just a speed run of the process, and the exact steps may vary depending on your specific situation and the tools you're using. You may also need to work with a developer or technical expert to set up and implement offline conversion tracking correctly.
Now, if you want to make life difficult for yourself and go it the hard way, more power to you. The folks at Census, on the other hand, created a quick, streamlined approach to achieve the same results. Just follow the steps in the example below to start sending offline conversions from Snowflake to Google Ads. 👇
Or if you’d rather watch a step-by-step visual guide on how to send your offline conversions from Snowflake to Google Ads, check out this video.👇
No matter how you slice and dice it, offline conversions are the future of Google Ads Attribution. 🔮 You could, of course, throw up your hands and ignore attribution and hope for the best. But this would take you back to the days before Claude Hopkins introduced Scientific Advertising in 1923, which included strategies for attribution around putting unique coupons on different marketing assets.
Without offline conversion data, you’re giving up on the promise of machine learning and ads conversions optimization that is getting more and more reliable on Google Ads. And now that you’re armed with the tools to set up Google Ads offline conversions, be sure to pay it forward and tell your friends and colleagues.
✨ Have feedback on this article, or want a personalized data activation strategy session? Schedule a jam session with a Census data activation expert. We’ll show you just how easy it can be to combine different data entities into single conversion events.