Recently, we started working with a client to improve their Google Ads campaigns.  More specifically, we were hired because their sales team consistently complained they were, “getting the wrong kinds of leads!”  Sound familiar?

In other words, the ad campaign was driving too many unqualified prospects and the sales team was sick of weeding through them to find the diamonds in the rough.

It’s an all-too-common problem that requires an all-too-uncommon solution.  I’ll explain more about the solution in this case study, but first let’s take a look at how this account was set up before we started working together.

Google Ads Case Study

Before We Started

This particular client is in the recruiting industry, but that’s not really important.  This case study is relevant for every business that needs to improve the quality of their leads from Google Ads.

When we first reviewed our client’s account, we discovered they were basically flying blind.  They had only two types of conversion tracking installed and one was not set up correctly:

  1. There was one Webform conversion, which was tracking both requests for services, as well as newsletter sign ups.  This is a problem because there is a big difference between a lead requesting services versus a website visitor requesting the free email newsletter.  The latter is obviously less valuable and you wouldn’t want to optimize the ads by treating those distinct conversions equally.
  2. There was one Ad Calls conversion, which was tracking phone calls from the number displayed in the ad.  There’s nothing wrong here and I was happy to see this was already set up.

Let me summarize what this means because I realize it may not look like a problem unless you’re experienced managing Google Ads campaigns.

With only the 2 conversions listed above, we have the following problems:

  1. We don’t know which keywords/ads are driving leads vs. just driving newsletter subscriptions.
  2. We don’t know how many phone calls, from the number listed on the website, the ad campaign is generating.
  3. We don’t have a feedback loop from the sales team to label qualified vs. unqualified leads from the ad campaign.  This is commonly missing and can be a game changer when it comes to improving ad performance.  We’ll talk more about this soon.

The solution to the first two problems is simple.  First, we set up a dedicated conversion for leads and a separate conversion for newsletter subscriptions.  Second, we installed Website Call conversion tracking so we could track when prospects called the number on the website.

The solution to the 3rd problem wasn’t so simple, and it’s the focus of this article…


The First & Most Critical Step to Improve Lead Quality

As you probably guessed, the first step we took was to improve the conversion tracking in Google Ads.  There’s simply no way to improve the lead quality if we don’t know which keywords/ads are driving the qualified leads and which are driving the unqualified leads.

Intuitively that makes sense, but it’s not 100% clear how to put this into practice.  There’s no tool available that will tell you which keywords drive qualified vs. unqualified leads.  So it’s not possible to research your way out of this problem.  You’re going to have to test different keywords and ads and see which work best.

So how do you determine what works best?

Sure, conversion tracking is the answer, but unless 100% of your sales are from e-commerce, then conversion pixels alone won’t solve this problem.  A conversion pixel will only tell you when a phone call is generated or when you get a request for services via an online form.  What we need here is a way to get qualitative feedback from the sales team and then feed that information back into Google Ads.

Sounds a bit far fetched, but that’s actually exactly what we set up for our client using Google’s Import Conversion process.

Here’s what how it works…


How to Create a Lead Quality Feedback Loop in Google Ads

Before I go any further, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of communication between the Google Ads management team and the sales team.  This will never work if the two teams don’t communicate effectively.

Also, there is a bit of coding work that will need to be done on the website in order to make this work.  I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty details of coding in this article because you’ll likely want to hand off that work to a developer.  To learn more and to review the required code, click here.

Once the code is working on your website, then here’s an overview of how the feedback loop works:

  1. Prospect clicks on your Google ad.  Once the ad is clicked Google assigns a unique ID, called a Google Click ID, or GCLID.
  2. Prospect lands on your website.  The code mentioned above stores the GCLID in a browser cookie to be used when needed.
  3. Prospect fills out a form to request services.  The code mentioned above retrieves the GCLID from the browser cookie and adds the ID as a hidden form field.  Therefore, the GCLID will be sent through the form along with the other information that is filled in by the prospect.
  4. Your sales team receives the prospect information, along with the GCLID.  This information is likely stored in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Salesforce or Infusionsoft.
  5. Your sales team follows up and either determines the prospect is qualified or unqualified.
  6. Your sales team follows up with the qualified prospects and some convert to sales.
  7. At this point, you now have a list of prospects with unique GCLIDs that are unqualified, as well as a list of GCLIDs that converted to sales.
  8. These lists can be imported back into Google Ads and Google will match the GCLIDs to the keywords/ads that the prospect originally clicked on.

See how that works?  Now the team managing the Google Ads campaigns will know exactly which keywords/ads drove unqualified leads and which drove sales.  You can even import the revenue generated from the sales to calculate your ROI within the Google Ads platform.

Again, communication is critical for this to work and in my experience, communication can be the biggest hurdle to setting this up.


The Results

In this particular example, we just finished installing the code required to track the GCLIDs so we don’t have too much data yet (to see a similar case study with more data, click here).   However, we’re off to a good start.

The day after we went live with the tracking code we received our first lead that had a GCLID and we confirmed with the sales team that the lead was qualified.  Therefore, we were able to import the GCLID back into Google Ads to determine exactly which keyword/ad drove this lead.

It’s going to take time, but eventually, we will have hard data on exactly what’s working to drive qualified leads and what’s wasting the sales team’s time by driving unqualified leads.  This data is invaluable and will give our client a huge competitive advantage in the months to come.


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