Why Conversion Tracking & Attribution May Not Work With B2B Google Ad Campaigns

With most Google Ad Campaigns, the key performance indicator (KPI) is conversions, cost per conversion, and when it comes to ecommerce, value per conversion. As a Google Ad Manager, we want to see a direct result (leads/sales) coming from the campaign that we can track and attribute back to the campaign. This allows us to optimize a Google Ad Campaign to increase conversions, lower cost per conversion and increasing value per conversion. These are the main metrics most businesses care about after all.

When it comes to B2B (business to business) campaigns, whether it's a SaaS product or not, conversion tracking and attribution may fail to work. Why? Because the path to conversion isn't as linear as it is with B2C. With B2C the person performing the search is usually also the person that is going to submit a lead form or make a purchase. With B2B however, especially for larger companies, the person doing the research for a given product or service is not necessarily the same person in the organization that will make the purchase. It can also take longer for companies to make a decision on which product or service to purchase and whenever they do decide to take action they may submit the lead form or make the purchase outside of the Google Ad 'conversion window'.

All of these issues can lead to your campaign generating clicks but registering very few conversions. This may give the impression that the campaign isn't working when in fact it is. This is why for B2B companies, it is crucial to commit to running Google Ads for a longer period of time to really see the full impact it'll have on sales. The sales may never be able to be attributed back to the original traffic source either, so you must gauge results holistically.

The best way to identify whether your advertising is working as a B2B company is to keep an eye on how many people are arriving to your site by searching your brand name. If that number is going up overtime, then it means to continue doing what you're doing. Keep running ad campaigns that have resulted in an increase of people searching your brand name.

Another possible solution to this issue is to run ads for a 'lead magnet', some kind of free educational content that the prospect must optin for by entering their email address. This will allow you to track conversions on your ad campaign, build an email list of prospects that you can nurture and ultimately sell. You can then connect the dots to see which campaigns are generating more sales overtime by making the subscriber enter their company name when opting in for the lead magnet and capturing which traffic source or campaign they came from using Google Ad's offline conversion tracking or UTM parameters if the ad is on a different platform.

Later when somebody else from the company makes a purchase, you can then look back to see which traffic source their colleague came from on your email list.

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