Everflow And Google Ads Search: Igniting The Power Of Both Platforms

It's no secret that Google Ads is an extremely useful tool for demand generation. However, on its own, it presents myriad challenges including delayed reporting and significant data limitations. This case study examines how pairing the platform with Everflow solves these issues, transforms GADS' functionality, and allows for improved SEM performance.
Julian Willis
March 29, 2023

I joined Everflow in May 2021 as a demand generation manager — and was fortunate to do so at a critical juncture in the company’s trajectory. 

As a bootstrapped company, Everflow had achieved rocket ship growth by providing a superior platform for ad networks to track their partnerships and scale. Although having become a dominant player in ad tech through branding and word-of-mouth, Everflow needed to reach two adjacent audiences to sustain its growth: advertising agencies and corporate brands. Penetrating these two related yet siloed markets would require targeted demand generation efforts.

Having worked for two venture-backed fintech companies, I had experience running lead generation campaigns across a shifting industry landscape. What was different, and tremendously exciting, about my new role was that I would use Everflow's partner marketing platform to manage all demand generation efforts. I couldn’t wait to see the results I could deliver with this new platform. 

What I’ve Learned — Pairing Everflow With Google Ads

At Everflow, my primary charge is to drive marketing quality leads (MQLs) from businesses and institutions. Before my hire, Everflow had tested the leading online advertising platforms and found Google Ads Search (GADS) to deliver the best results. My first assignment would be to optimize the company’s search campaigns.

With B2B digital advertisers forecast to spend $5.36 billion on U.S. search ads in 2021 — and "tech products and services" projected to reach 30% of this amount, Everflow is competing for clicks and conversions within a ~$1.5 billion pool. Drilling down further, Everflow has direct competitors with hundreds of employees, multi-national parent companies, and reputations built over a decade. 

Despite challenges from the competition, it's my job to extend our spend as far as possible — and deliver high click-through rates (CTRs), strong ROI, and quality conversions. I would also need to address known problems with Google Ads’ standard advertiser experience. These include: (1) delayed conversion reporting; (2) limited data around lead quality and origination; and (3) scant click-level detail, driven by Google Ads’ confusing multi-touch attribution method.

I had faced these issues previously with Google Ads, which made it difficult to analyze data, assess conversion quality, and optimize on a daily basis. So, I quickly became laser-focused on leveraging Everflow's platform to find a solution for these issues.

Fast forward to today. By taking the time to integrate Everflow with Google Ads, I've solved the three pain points listed above. By marrying Everflow with GADS, I've also transformed the functionality of Google Ads and significantly improved our Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign performance.

Now, let’s move on to how I made this happen with the Everflow platform.  

Five Features That Transform Google Ads

#1. Everflow Direct Linking

Everflow’s Direct Linking enables advertisers to track each user as a unique click when reaching an ad's landing page. Direct linking improves the user experience by removing the traditional redirect associated with tracking links. It also empowers advertisers to promote across channels that prohibit third-party links, like Google Ads and Facebook

Activating Direct Linking with Everflow is easy. If you use BigCommerce, Shopify, or WooCommerce, you can toggle on Direct Linking with just a few clicks in our native integrations. Otherwise, first, navigate to "Offers" and then "Manage" in the Everflow Platform. Next, click the desired offer for Direct Linking:

Scroll to “Offers” and the “Tracking & Controls” tab, and select Javascript SDK under “Conversion Method”.

After saving, navigate back to “Offers”. Within the “Everflow Tracking Card”, under “Click,” copy the populated Javascript and paste it into the header of your landing page.

I utilize Instapage for Everflow’s landing pages. Instapage provides standard header, body, and footer "tracking scripts" fields in its builder, under “Scripts & GDPR”, where I paste our Javascript SDKs.

“Direct linking improves the user experience by removing the traditional redirect associated with tracking links.” - Julian Willis

#2. GADS Auto-Tagging

Auto-tagging is a critical feature in GADS, which creates a global tag that runs across all of your campaigns. To get started, first navigate to "Account settings" in GADS and then "auto-tagging".

After you open the auto-tagging dropdown, check the box that reads, "Tag the URL that people click through from my ad".

Auto-tagging is now activated and will add a "parameter", called a Google Click Identifier (GCLID), to the end of every "Final URL". A parameter is a system variable that delivers data from a third-party system (like GADS) to a tracking platform (like Everflow). The GCLID parameter holds the unique transaction ID of each Google user click.

With the GCLID appended to every GADS Final URL, the Everflow platform receives far more click data. How? Our platform matches each unique click received from GADS with the individual click data captured by Google.

Pro Tip: Google Search can pass a surprising amount of data around every GADS click, which isn’t addressed in Google Ads Help. For our own SEM campaigns, I make sure to pass keywords and several other helpful data points. To enable this data, go to Google Ads’ "Account settings". Select "Tracking", and then insert your own "Tracking template" to apply across all your campaigns:

By activating this workflow, I receive far more comprehensive data around every GADS click using Everflow. Our platform detects various click attributes like browser type, click timestamp, device type, device OS, IP address, ISP, location, search query, time of day, traffic source, and even user agent.

It's also critical to think through the data you choose to collect on your side with every web form. Name, title, company, email, phone number, industry, current solution provider, and even timeframe for purchase can significantly expand your understanding and valuation of each conversion.

Comprehensive click and conversion data is critical for understanding which ads, keywords, and landing pages are working — and which aren’t. By coupling the GCLID parameter with Offline-Conversion Actions (which I cover next), I've significantly increased the value of this data by activating fast, real-time reporting.

“Google Search can pass a surprising amount of data around every GADS click, which isn’t addressed in Google Ads Help.” - Julian Willis

#3. GADS Offline-Conversion Actions

Rather than rely on GADS' online conversion tracking, which is notoriously slow, I’ve enabled Offline-Conversion Actions in GADS. This activation is a critical step in delivering real-time data straight to Everflow — and bypassing GADS’ delays.

To turn on Offline-Conversion Actions, navigate from GADS "Tools & Settings" in the primary navigation. Select "Measurement" and then "Conversions". Next, click the blue "New Conversion Action" button and select “Import”: 

As GADS veterans know, the quality of SEM conversions can vary significantly. With delayed reporting, it's nearly impossible to optimize ads and keywords toward quality sources. By enabling Offline-Conversion Actions, I capture comprehensive click and conversion data in real time with Everflow — which Google Ads can’t provide alone.

This workflow provides me with a major jump on our competition. While I’m optimizing campaigns with extensive real-time data, my competitors are stuck assessing stale and limited information.

“Another critical tool in Offline-Conversion Actions is Offline-Conversion Values, which I apply across every campaign.” - Julian Willis

#4. GADS Offline-Conversion Values

Another critical tool in Offline-Conversion Actions is "Offline-Conversion Values", which I apply across every campaign. To date, I've established just two conversion actions with set U.S. dollar values: "quality" conversions set to $1,000 (which have B2B traits) and "low-quality" conversions priced at $10 (which possess B2C characteristics).

Pro Tip: I use a Zapier trigger, called a "Zap," to transmit GADS offline data to Everflow — and then return it to Google Ads with an Everflow postback (covered below). Within Zapier, advertisers can set up a filter to screen for specific conversion value characteristics.

For example, I've implemented filters to screen out free email domains, such as @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, and @hotmail.com, as shown below. These Zapier inputs help further delineate what types of characteristics I’m seeking from our conversion values: 

Our two conversion values instruct GADS to prioritize B2B leads over B2C leads at a 100-to-1 ratio. While not an exact science, establishing conversion values can boost conversion quality. To keep lead quality top-of-mind, I’ve also enabled an "Imported Lead Conversion Tracking Status" summary card on our Google Ads dashboard, which alerts me to any tracking errors:

Lastly, for those stubborn search campaigns that require more restrictions to deliver quality leads, I've removed "low-quality" conversions entirely. Instead, I focus these campaigns on quality leads alone and activate Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) at our rolling 30-day ROAS average. You can easily configure these options within each campaign's settings:

#5. Everflow Partner Postbacks

As detailed, I've activated Offline-Conversion Actions and Offline-Conversion Values for three primary reasons: (1) to receive conversion data in real time; (2) to obtain far more click and conversion detail; and (3) to assign conversion values to measure lead quality.

The last step in finalizing this setup is to pass conversion data from Everflow back to Google Ads, so both platforms remain in sync. To deliver data back to GADS, I use Everflow’s Partner Postbacks and Zapier Webhooks (as shown below). All conversions are posted to Zapier, and a “Zap” transmits conversion data from Everflow back to GADS.

It’s important to mention that Google mandates a 24-hour delay regarding returning conversion data to your Google Ads instance — and that Zapier costs are separate from Everflow. I use Zapier’s “Professional” plan, which runs just $49 per month, and provides “Zaps” and connections via Webhooks. A final benefit of this workflow is that I don’t have to manually format or import conversions, as Zapier automates these tasks:

The Benefits Of Pairing Everflow And Google Ads

By activating the five features that I've covered — (1) Everflow Direct Linking, (2) GADS Auto-Tagging, (3) GADS Offline Conversions, (4) GADS Offline-Conversion Values, and (5) Everflow Partner Postbacks — you, too, can transform your Google Ads account.

As a demand generation manager, I believe comprehensive data and speed of data delivery are my two most valuable tools. Why? They allow me to analyze clicks and conversions quickly — and actively improve performance.

“The last step in finalizing this setup is to pass conversion data from Everflow back to Google Ads, so both platforms remain in sync.” - Julian Willis

Before joining Everflow, I never had the opportunity to analyze real-time performance data with GADS — and optimize ahead of the next business day. With more than two decades of experience in performance marketing, I've used some of the most expensive marketing automation platforms. These platforms include Adobe, Marketo, Oracle Responsys, Pardot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and SAP Marketing Cloud

Not a single one of these pricey platforms had the power or flexibility to deliver the real-time data and efficiencies that Everflow has. 

Last Words — The Power Of Comprehensive Real-Time Data

I hope you've taken away a few tips from this internal case study that will help you improve the performance of your SEM campaigns. 

Google Ads Search is not a "set it and forget it" platform. It requires daily analysis, testing, and optimization across tens of different factors, features, and tools. In other words, SEM campaigns require active day-to-day management to generate long-term solid results.

For this reason, I feel fortunate to be able to leverage the Everflow platform in conjunction with GADS and Zapier. I’m also lucky to have access to our veteran customer success team, who guided me through the pairing of Everflow and Google Ads — as they do for our clients. 

By implementing the workflow I’ve covered, I’ve gained the benefits of real-time conversion reporting, expanded lead quality data, extensive click-level detail, and time savings with the automation of manual tasks. 

None of these four benefits are available with GADS in its stand-alone format. 

Since joining the company, I’ve discovered several features of Everflow’s platform that have unlocked the true power of Google Ads. It's been an exciting and fulfilling experience to learn and leverage Everflow's software to help our global sales team penetrate new markets. 

I now wish you luck with your demand generation efforts! 

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