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How to import offline conversions into Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking and analyzing online user behavior and conversions. However, many businesses also have conversions that occur offline, such as in-store purchases, phone orders, or contract signings. This is where offline conversion tracking becomes essential.

Offline conversion tracking allows you to attribute offline conversions, like sales or subscription activations, back to the original online marketing channels and user journeys that led to them. This gives you a more complete picture of your marketing effectiveness and return on investment across all your conversion points – both online and offline.

The process works by collecting identifiers like email addresses or phone numbers from website/app visitors and associating them with the unique Google Analytics Client ID assigned to each user. When an offline conversion occurs, you match the conversion data to the identifier and Client ID, then upload that information to Google Analytics. This allows Google Analytics to connect the offline conversion back to the original online user journey.

There are a few different methods for uploading offline conversions to Google Analytics, such as manual CSV uploads, the Measurement Protocol API, or using a customer data platform integration like Able CDP. Each option has its own pros and cons in terms of automation capabilities, ease of setup, and pricing.

What is offline conversion?

Google Analytics tracking is centered on recording information about website visitors or mobile app users. For it to accurately report any conversion that doesn't happen on the website or in the mobile app, it needs to understand which online user the offline conversion refers to.

Common types of offline conversions include:

  1. recurring payments,
  2. subscription activations,
  3. CRM qualifications and won deal events,
  4. phone orders, and
  5. in-store purchases.

One example of offline conversion tracking is when a customer completes a purchase through a payment system on a proprietary back-office platform. In this scenario, the customer may have initially interacted with the company's website or app but ultimately finished the transaction offline. By implementing offline conversion tracking, you can attribute the sale to the appropriate online marketing efforts that led the customer to make the purchase, even though it occurred outside of the website or app.

Another example of offline conversion tracking is CRM qualification and won deals conversions. In this case, a potential customer may have filled out a lead form on the company's website or engaged with their content, but the actual conversion, such as a sale or contract signing, happens offline after the lead has been qualified by the sales team.

How offline conversion tracking works in Google Analytics

When a visitor interacts with your website or app, Google Analytics 4 assigns them a unique identifier called a Client Id. This Client Id is stored in the user's browser or device and is used to track their online behavior. When an offline conversion occurs, such as a payment processed offline, CRM deal closed won or subscription activation, it needs to be matched to an identifier that can be recognized by Google Analytics - Client Id.

In order to associate offline purchases and other conversions with the sources, you'll need to collect additional information from the customer, such as their email address or phone number, associating it with Client Id known to Google Analytics 4 at the time of online form completion or tracked phone call.

By uploading offline conversion data that is matched with the online visitor data using the collected customer information to GA4, GA4 can attribute the offline conversion to the corresponding online visitor. This allows you to understand which online marketing channels, campaigns, or content contributed to the offline conversion.

To associate offline conversions with online visitor sources, follow these steps:

  1. Collect customer information: when a form is completed on the website, collect relevant customer information such as email address, phone number, or a unique identifier, associating it with Google Analytics Client Id. Third-party call tracking services can be used to associate phone number with the Client Ids.
  2. When an offline conversion occurs, match offline conversion with online visitor by looking up the Client Id by a customer identifier and upload it to Google Analytics using events data import, measurement protocol or Able CDP integration.

An attributed set of offline conversions would have each conversion referenced to a Client Id and, often, Session Id:

GA4 offline conversions upload data

Once conversions are attributed to the respective Client Ids, they can be uploaded to Google Analytics.

Uploading offline conversions using events data import feature

Google Analytics 4 offers a method to upload offline conversions using event data import. Importing events with this method requires preparing a CSV file with event details and uploading it in the Data Import user interface in Google Analytics.

The CSV file with data should contain details of each conversion, including Google Analytics Client Id (or app_instance_id), event name and details – for example, purchase items that should be included in the conversion, as well as a timestamp indicating when the event occurred.

Only events that occurred in the last 72 hours can be uploaded this way.

Pros: doesn’t require any additional software.

Cons: requires creating a proprietary method for capturing and storing Google Analytics Client Ids, requires manual preparation and upload of a data file every few days.

Uploading offline conversions using Google Analytics Measurement Protocol

Google Analytics Measurement Protocol provides a way to automate import of offline conversions to Google Analytics.

The process of data preparation is similar: each offline conversion must be associated with Google Analytics Client Id that belongs to the customer and then, instead of uploading a file, the offline conversions can be sent to the Google Analytics API.

Pros: allows to create a fully automated unattended process.

Cons: a proprietary process for capturing and storing Google Analytics Client Id is still required, as well as creating an API integration, monitoring it and updating when API changes.

Importing offline conversions into Google Analytics using Able CDP

Able CDP offers an easy-to-use method of importing offline conversions into Google Analytics continuously. Able combines tracking of Client Ids and associating customers with their Clients Ids once they sign up, receiving conversions from popular applications such as payment systems or CRMs and sending them to Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Client Id is tracked when a lead, a contact or a sign-up form is completed. It is then associated with customer details such as an e-mail or a phone number, which allows Able to retrieve Client Id by an offline identifier, establishing association of an offline conversion with the visitor and ensuring Google Analytics would link the offline conversion with pre-existing user online activity through the Client Id, sending it to Measurement Protocol.

If a call tracking provider such as CallRail is used, Able would receive associations between phone numbers and website visitors from it, and then use the same process to attribute offline conversions to online visitors’ ids.

In addition to recording Client Ids, Able records Session Ids, which enables attribution in Google Analytics by the Session Source dimension, in addition to First User Source. This dimension requires an online session to be active at the time when offline conversion occurs, in order to display it’s Session Source, Channel and other session metrics.

Pros: no coding required, can be set up quickly and runs completely unattended, importing offline conversions into Google Analytics 4 in real time.

Cons: subscription fee.

How to import Google Analytics offline conversions with Able CDP

Sign up for an Able CDP account

Create an account with Able CDP to access offline conversion attribution features.

Track Google Analytics Client IDs on your website

After registration, follow the step-by-step instructions provided by Able CDP to install tracking code on your website.

Screenshot 2024 04 16 143857

This tracking code will allow Able CDP to store the Google Analytics Client Id and associate it with each customer's activity.

    • Able CDP's form tracking automatically recognizes static web forms, such as common Wordpress plugins or Webflow.
    • For dynamic lead magnet widgets like Sumo or single-page application JavaScript forms (React.JS, Vue.JS), follow instructions on the 'Web Application' tab to set up form tracking.
    • If you're using an e-commerce platform like WooCommerce, ensure that the check-out forms are properly tracked. See the integration instructions for further details.

Track Google Analytics Client IDs for phone calls (optional)

If you're using CallRail or Paycall for call tracking, integrate them with Able CDP to attribute offline conversions to phone calls.

Ensure that your call tracking provider is set up to capture the Google Analytics Client Id and associate it with the unique trackable phone number displayed on your website using dynamic number insertion (DNI) technology.

In Able, press 'Add Service Integration' and select the integration you're interested in to see the instructions:

CallRail integration selection

Connect Able CDP to sources of offline conversions

Integrate Able CDP with your CRM (e.g., Salesforce, Scoro), payment systems (e.g., Stripe), or e-commerce platforms (e.g., WooCommerce, Kajabi) to import offline conversion data.

Press 'Add Service Integration' in Able Dashboard to see a list of supported integrations.

  • Able would automatically look up previously stored Google Analytics 4 Client Id by a customer identifier such as an email or a phone number, attributing each offline conversion to a web user and, when possible, session.
  • If you're using a proprietary back-office platform, use Able CDP's offline conversions REST API to integrate it with the system directly or send webhooks using Zapier.

Connect Able CDP to Google Analytics Measurement Protocol

Configure Able CDP to send offline conversion data to Google Analytics Measurement Protocol in real-time.

First, open web stream settings in Google Analytics 4 admin to obtain a measurement id and set a measurement secret for your property:

Google Analytics 4 measurement protocol settings for offline conversion import

Save these settings to Able and permit sending of conversion events to GA:

Google Analytics 4 offline conversions setup

This will allow Google Analytics to attribute the offline conversions to the original marketing channel, source, and campaign associated with the visitor.

Verify and test the integration

Now, it's time to test everything and ensure that the offline conversion import to Google Analytics 4 is working as intended.

  1. Test the integration by triggering an offline conversion event and verifying that it appears in Able's customer reports
  2. Verify that the conversion is in your Google Analytics reports with the appropriate attribution. In our experience, Google Analytics usually processes conversions within 1 day, however, it might take up to 48 hours for them to appear.

If you don't see the conversion in Google Analytics, the most frequent cause for this would be hiding of infrequent conversions by Google Analytics due to the use of event thresholding. In such case, the report would have an orange-brown exclamation mark icon, signifying that the data are processed by GA4 but are hidden from the report. This is most common when Google Signals are enabled and disabling Google Signals would usually resolve the issue.

By following these steps, you can set up Google Analytics 4 offline conversion attribution, allowing you to measure the return on ad spend (RoAS) from each marketing channel and analyze the conversion events and touchpoints that lead to a purchase.

Sources and further reading

  1. Able CDP: How Able CDP Works, accessed 29 May 2024.
  2. Google Analytics 4 documentation: Import offline events, accessed 29 May 2024.
  3. Google Analytics 4 developer documentation: Google Analytics 4 Measurement Protocol, accessed 29 May 2024.
  4. J. Grappone, G. Couzin (2010), Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour a Day, pp. 162-163.

This page has been written by the Able CDP Customer Success Team, formed of digital marketing practitioners and seasoned marketing data experts.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us using the contact form.