The digital marketing industry is always changing, especially in the pay-per-click (PPC) world. In recent years, there’s been a large shift towards machine learning and automation.

In addition, measuring success within PPC campaigns is also changing. Offline conversions have become a way to measure the most valuable actions taken by customers and improve PPC performance.

We predict that combining machine learning with offline conversion tracking will be a recipe for success that lead generation businesses and advertisers will use to gain a competitive edge.

Today: Online Conversions

The ability to track every dollar spent on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms like Google Ads is remarkable. Not only can we track ad spend all the way from the account level down to the keyword level, we can also measure online conversions, or the actions you want your website visitors to take.

For ecommerce businesses, conversions typically include online sales and revenue tracking, while conversions from lead generation businesses (B2B or B2C), are usually form submissions or phone calls. We’ll be focusing on lead generation in this article.

For us, managing lead generation accounts is about scaling online leads while improving the cost to acquire them. This has generally been the traditional focus of online advertising for lead generation.

However, there are some questions that come with lead generation. These include:

  • What happens after those lead forms or phone calls come in?
  • Are these high-quality leads?
  • Is there a customer sales representative on the other end that is qualifying leads?
  • How much revenue did this lead ultimately generate?

Answering these questions can be harder than you would think.

Welcome to the “offline” world, one that that many PPC marketers shy away from. Not us. We like the challenge and we see this as an opportunity for lead generation businesses to get ahead of competition.

But this is just the present… what could lead generation look like down the road?

Future: Offline Conversions and Machine Learning

Let’s take a look at the very basic lead generation process for PPC. Say a PPC ad generates a lead from Google search or another platform. That lead submission goes to a sales representative who qualifies that lead. If it’s a good lead, the sales cycle continues until the deal closes. Revenue comes in for the business.

In the past, generating the initial lead was the main goal of PPC. The challenge, however, was knowing whether or not the quality of those leads was good or bad. If we, as PPC experts, are driving a ton of leads but none of them are closing, then there’s a disconnect in the “real world” that needs to be addressed.

Offline Conversion Imports to Google Ads

This is where offline conversion tracking comes in, which is a fairly established capability. When that initial lead happens and it is marked as high-quality, it’s possible to put that conversion data back into Google Ads for optimization.

Better yet, if there’s actual revenue associated with the lead, it’s possible to import that information into Google Ads as well.

Automated Bidding Strategies

Where things start to get really interesting is when we combine importing offline conversions with automated bidding strategies. You might be asking yourself, what are automated bidding strategies?

In recent years, ad platforms such as Google Ads have launched various automated bidding strategies that are based on machine learning.

These automated bidding strategies take the manual work out of adjusting bids. Instead, they use thousands of user signals to adjust bids during ad auctions to focus on pre-established goals. These include:

By picking the right automated strategy, you can work toward accomplishing your lead generation goals. The effectiveness of automated bidding strategies has improved greatly over the years. They weren’t the most effective in the beginning, but like all machine learning, they gathered data and were able to improve.

Offline Conversion Tracking + Automated Bidding = Success

To set up a PPC campaign, track online conversions, and say that’s good enough is not going to cut it in today’s complex digital world. In order to survive and win, advertisers need to adopt forward-thinking, innovative strategies to gain an advantage against their competition.

Combining offline conversion tracking with automated bidding strategies is that innovative strategy that will take your PPC account to the next level.

Imagine harnessing the power of real-time machine learning to bid where it’s more likely to result in a truly valuable, revenue-generating lead. And being able to measure all of that with confidence.

We’re no longer imagining.

If you want to start looking ahead toward the future of paid advertising to get ahead of the competition, start a conversation with WTM Digital today.