Suppose the primary goal of your paid search engine marketing (SEM) account is to acquire leads. In that case, you’re likely counting lead submissions as your primary conversion to optimize your campaigns and measure success. Optimizing for lead submissions has been considered the standard and best practice for a long time. Indeed, it’s still a decent method to ensure your paid search and display campaigns produce the desired results toward your business goals and bottom line.
However, automated bidding algorithms in platforms like Google Ads have advanced by leaps and bounds within the past year or two, so much so that the best practice for lead-based accounts is not to count lead submissions as your primary conversion point, but rather to use end-sale and subsequent revenue instead.
Optimizing toward final sale data may seem counterintuitive or daunting as final sale data is less robust than initial lead submission data, and importing final sale data directly into your paid SEM platform often requires overcoming data architecture and development hurdles.
In this post, I will demonstrate why making this change will be well worth your time and effort. Giving a platform like Google Ads your “final sale” data from leads once they close produces better results for your business.
Using Offline Conversion Data From Your CRM Tool in Google Ads
The concept of offline conversion tracking is nothing new in the world of PPC. Importing conversion data from your customer relationship management (CRM) tool into your paid advertising platform is a known capability. Automating offline conversion tracking can be tricky and tedious if you do it from scratch. However, platforms like Google Ads now have built-in connectors with many CRM platforms, making this automation process easier and more efficient.
Nowadays, offline conversion tracking has transitioned from “superfluous but nice to have” to “essential for success.” Automated bidding algorithms use many different signals to find the right users to show ad impressions to; the signals of a closed sale won and the revenue generated from it have become two of the most critical metrics to feed into your campaigns and inform which type of users are actually likely to generate value for your business.
Optimizing Toward “Final Sale” Data Increased Client’s Revenue and Return
We recently adjusted this in one of our client’s Google Ads accounts. Before, we were optimizing toward estimated revenue on initial lead submissions. Our team switched the conversion settings in these accounts to count only closed sales as conversions and used the actual revenue generated from these sales as our conversion value metric.
We retroactively imported approximately 12 weeks of prior revenue data to get an exact before-and-after comparison of the impact on revenue and return.
The results of making this change were significant.
Both Revenue and Return on Ad Spend Grew Dramatically
The chart below shows how cost, revenue, and return on ad spend (ROAS) improved in the first account (referred to as “Account A”) in which we implemented this change. Please note that we changed conversion settings to begin influencing campaigns’ bidding algorithms in “Week 0.”
As you can see, both revenue and ROAS increased noticeably in subsequent weeks following our change to conversion settings.
Telling Google Ads to focus only on the closed sales and use actual revenue generated from those sales gave our campaigns the right signals to increase ad impressions to more qualified and valuable potential customers.
This wasn’t just a fluke. We replicated this same process with another account (referred to as “Account B”) from the same client, and the results speak for themselves.
Again, without any significant cost increases, revenue and ROAS improved after changing the conversion settings to only count closed sales as conversions and use the actual revenue generated from these sales as the conversion value. Furthermore, these improved levels were sustained thereafter.
In both accounts, ROAS more than doubled within twelve weeks (between “Week -6” and “Week 6”).
Revenue increased by 90% in Account A and 130% in Account B between the same twelve-week period, despite spending volume in both accounts declining from “Week 0” through “Week 6” compared to the six weeks prior.
Update Your Google Ads Accounts with Better Offline Conversion Data
The results of changing the conversion settings in two accounts – to optimize for more actual revenue generated from leads – prove that updating your campaign settings with this data is worth the extra time and effort.
Depending on your specific advertising platform, a built-in connector might work directly with your CRM platform to make this change easier. Give your campaigns the correct data so you can start making significant improvements toward your revenue goals.