AdWords Conversion Tracking Updates Puts Google on Marketers’ “Nice List”

The holidays came early for digital marketers this year with the announcement of two major AdWords conversion tracking updates:  Google’s Estimated Total Conversions kicked off on October 1st, while Offline Conversion Tracking debuted on September 5th.

Estimated Total Conversions

Estimated Total Conversions finally gives marketers insight into cross-device purchase behavior.

What exactly is a cross-device purchase? Here’s an example.

  1. First, let’s say you Google “snowboard sales” on your iPhone.  You click on Burton’s search ad, but don’t purchase during your morning commute.
  2. After work, you head home, visit Burton.com directly on your desktop, and make the purchase.

Prior to the Estimated Total Conversion rollout, advertisers would have seen your purchase as a desktop “view-through” conversion. Now, Google uses that information – aggregated from user behavior while logged in across devices – to provide an estimate of the total conversions expected from each keyword. Clearly, this update provides marketers with more accurate cross-device data and allows for smarter mobile bid optimization.

Offline Conversion Tracking

Offline conversion tracking streamlines the connection between digital ads and offline events, allowing for holistic ROI measurement. Put simply, Google has eliminated the extra legwork needed to tie AdWords keyword data to dollars in your CRM.

How exactly does it work?

  1. First, a prospect clicks on your search ad. Google assigns a “unique click id” or a sting of numbers to this action. The prospect fills out lead gen form on your page and passes the information along to your database.
  2. Now, when your sales team follows up and closes the deal, the purchase amount added to your CRM can also be uploaded to AdWords.

Before the offline tracking update, it was tough, particularly for B2B marketers with complex sales cycles, to evaluate top performing ads in terms of revenue. Now marketers may optimize for dollars instead of conversions.

If you’re not already excited about these two updates, here’s a quick, side-by-side debrief:


While there is room for refinement, ultimately this is a huge step forward in giving advertisers the tools they need to combat two persistent digital marketing challenges:

  1. Accurate cross-device conversion measurement.
  2. Connecting online ads to offline value.

If Google’s intent is to make conversion tracking as seamless and holistic as possible, this is a promising start.