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Home > Marketing performance optimization  >  Deep funnel conversions
Deep funnel conversions
There is a way to know — rather than guess — if the money you spent on ads actually resulted in conversions. With deep funnel conversions, you can see if the people you tracked at an early stage of your funnel are the same people who ended up buying. Maximize your ad dollars with clearer tracking by setting this up in Ontraport.
You'll learn:
  • How to turn on Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking 
  • Where your data is going to live in your contact records 
  • How to set up an automation to send the data back using webhooks (bonus: we’ve got a template!) 
  • Where to go if you need extra help setting all this up
Sam Flegal
Deep funnel conversions
There is a way to know — rather than guess — if the money you spent on ads actually resulted in conversions. With deep funnel conversions, you can see if the people you tracked at an early stage of your funnel are the same people who ended up buying. Maximize your ad dollars with clearer tracking by setting this up in Ontraport.
You'll learn:
  • How to turn on Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking 
  • Where your data is going to live in your contact records 
  • How to set up an automation to send the data back using webhooks (bonus: we’ve got a template!) 
  • Where to go if you need extra help setting all this up
Course Instructor
Sam Flegal
Related resources
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Ok, this is a bit more of an advanced topic, but if you’re spending real money on ads, this could  be the most important feature that Ontraport has to offer you, and it could make the difference between running ads profitably or not. 

Let me start by sharing a little internet history with you.

If you were an advertiser back around the dawn of time, like the mid-2000s, you may remember that the only way to see which ads worked or didn’t work well was by tracking the number of clicks each ad got. That might seem alright, but it really wasn’t because it turns out that it’s super common for a particular ad to get a lot of clicks… but no sales at all. And the reverse is often true also: sometimes you’ll get fewer clicks but from just the right people who end up being great prospects and buy your stuff like crazy.

So testing by measuring clicks stank and everyone knew it. But it was the best we could do at the time.

Then, some of the ad platforms (like Facebook and Google) created a new system where you’d put a little code on your web pages and that code would read a personal identifier (which is stored in a cookie in the user’s browser) and then tell the ad platforms who just visited which pages on your site.

And that innovation was a major breakthrough, because you no longer had to look at clickthrough rates to see what’s working. Instead, you could look at who ACTUALLY opted in to your site or – if you were in ecommerce – you could even see who was ACTUALLY BUYING and tie that back to the ads they originally clicked. For the first time, advertisers could begin to see which ads REALLY worked to grow their businesses and which didn’t.

Even better, all this information flowing back to the ad platforms gave them enormous sets of data that they could use to figure out exactly what kind of person likes buying your stuff. So they created these fancy algorithms designed to send you people who are more likely to buy from you, based on who bought from you in the past.

This worked amazingly well. So well, that these ad platforms became some of the biggest businesses in the world by selling these hyper-targeted ads, and business owners had a fantastic new way to grow their businesses online.

Unfortunately, that’s the end of the good part of this story. Because there are some serious problems as well.

First, this whole model really only works if you sell things that people buy quickly, without thinking too long and hard about it, like shoes or t-shirts or most any kind of physical product or inexpensive service.

But if your sales cycle is longer, the model breaks down badly. Let me explain why. 

If you’re selling a more considered purchase – something that’s a big decision or expensive, or where people need to get to know and like and trust you before buying – the time between clicking an advertisement and a purchase can be weeks or months instead of minutes or hours. That’s the situation for almost all higher-end service providers.

And in that case, this pixel-tracking model begins to fail. That personal tracking ID that’s added by Facebook or Google and stored in a cookie on your browser tends to get lost over time. People switch from their laptop to their phones, clear their cookies, change browsers, you name it.

And when the cookie isn’t there when the visitor buys, the ad platforms don’t know who they are.

This causes a cascade of problems.

First, you’ll see a sale was made, but Facebook and Google will report that it came from an unknown source instead of from one of your ads. That means you’re likely making sales from some of your campaigns, but you don’t even know it.

So, because you’re careful with your money, you turn that campaign off because it looks like it’s not working. That’s bad, because it makes it really hard to grow your business when you can’t trust your ad data.

And worse, because all these great buyers are anonymous as far as Google and Facebook are concerned, their algorithms can’t create profiles of your ideal customers… so all the power that these giant platforms have to go find you new good prospects is totally lost.

This effectively sends us back to the dark ages of 2005, because if we can’t get good data about who’s actually buying and relate that back to the ads they initially clicked, we’re left trying to figure out what works by looking at the very top of the funnel – which ads get clicked the most.

We know that doesn’t work. And this is only getting worse.

You’ve probably heard by now that (reasonable) privacy concerns are inspiring fundamental changes in how the web works. In 2021, Apple began blocking third party cookies for almost everyone who uses an iPhone, which is a whole lot of people. Chrome, the world’s most popular browser by a long shot, plans to block third party cookies by default sometime in 2022. 

This means that the ad platforms really can’t track people the way they used to, and the whole model that caused Facebook and Google to become as successful as they are is fundamentally threatened. 

The reason advertising on these platforms works so well is that their algorithms help them show your ads ONLY to a highly targeted group of people. Because they’re so well targeted, the people who see your ads tend to be interested and tend to click and buy. That lowers your cost per sale, because you only pay to put your ads in front of the best prospects for your business.

But now, they no longer have the data to feed their algorithms, so they don’t know who to put your ads in front of. So, they put them in front of a less-well-targeted audience, and fewer of them click and buy. But of course, you’re still paying based on the number of people who see your ad. 

If MORE people have to see your ad in order to get the SAME amount of sales that you used to, your cost per sale goes up. Way up.

In fact, Facebook is telling their customers that their cost per sale is likely to be THREE TIMES higher because of the loss of cookie data.

That’s a disaster for business owners. It’s also a disaster for Facebook, but we’re not overly worried for Zuckerberg. He’s going to be fine. We’re worried for us.

Fortunately, there’s a solution here, and you happen to be watching the video that describes it, and here it is.

Even though Facebook and Google don’t know who’s buying your stuff, you certainly do. And, if you have the right technology in place, you can figure out which ad each buyer initially clicked. 

And, again, with the right technology, you can send all that data – who bought from you and which ad they clicked – back to Google and Facebook so that, once again, they have all the data they need to feed their algorithms to help you find better targeted audiences for your ads. 

If you collect and send this customer data back to the ad platforms, you can avoid these skyrocketing advertising costs and continue to leverage the incredible power that these platforms have to find you new customers.

In fact, it’s the only way this whole game is going to work in the future. Ad costs will be far too expensive for anyone who doesn’t get this done, and Facebook and Google know it. They’re now leaning hard on their advertisers to move away from pixel tracking and to start sending them conversion data via their APIs. 

Sending this data back to the ad platforms solves ALL these problems, but of course with a caveat: in order to send conversion data to Facebook and Google... you have to HAVE that data!

Fortunately, this is where Ontraport shines really brightly… because we collect more and better data about your prospects and customers for you than any other platform out there, and we do it automatically.

What’s great about this is that you can not only send purchase data back to Facebook and Google, but also to other important conversion points along the way… allowing the ad platforms to optimize your ads based on shorter term conversions. 

For example, maybe you have phone consultations or demos with leads. If so, you can mark each lead as qualified or not, and send that data back to the ad platforms automatically, allowing you to see which ad campaigns are driving the most qualified conversions, and allowing the platforms to optimize your ad spend based on that metric. 

It’s extremely powerful stuff. We call it Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking. Instead of trying to guess what’s working based on top of funnel metrics like ad clicks, we’re tracking based on the good stuff deeper in the funnel: qualified leads, trials, purchases and so on. And you’ll be able to see the results right in Google Ad words or in your Facebook Ad account.

So, that was a long and complicated story, but an important one to understand if you’re an advertiser. 

In the rest of this video, I’m going to show you how to set things up so you’re automatically sending data to the ad platforms as it comes in. It’ll take a few minutes, but you’ll only need to do it once.

We’ll do it in three steps: 

  1. Turn on Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking
  2. See where your data is going to live, and 
  3. Set up an automation to send the data back using webhooks

Let’s jump in.

OK, let’s start with step one: turning on Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking in Ontraport.

Navigate to your Advanced Features. You’ll see a Deep Funnel Conversion Tracking option here — go ahead and toggle it “On.”

You’ll also need to turn on the Tracking feature in the same section if it’s not already on in your account.

Sweet — we’re already to Step 2. Now let’s see where your data is going to live.

By turning on Deep Funnel Tracking a second ago, we automatically created new fields inside your contact records. Let’s check them out.

Ok, take a look in here — see this Lead Information section? These are the four new fields we just created: The GA Client ID, the GCLID, the Facebook fbc, and Facebook fbp. 

The first two are IDs added to your visitor’s cookies by Google and the second two are… you guessed it: added by Facebook. Those will only show up there if the contact clicked a Facebook link.

When you turned on the basic Tracking feature, you also got a bunch of fields to store UTM variables, which you can see here. These will also automatically be captured by Ontraport if you’re adding them to the URLs in your ads, which you absolutely must be doing. We have another video explaining how to use UTM variables, linked below this video in the resources section.

One thing you have to remember: grabbing these IDs and UTMs automatically is some special Ontraport magic, but it only works if you’re using Ontraport forms and you have the Ontraport tracking script on your web pages. Make sure you’ve got that set up.

Ok, so that’s where this fancy tracking data lives. That leaves us with one more step, and it’s a fun one: setting up the automation.

Some great news about this step — we’ve already built a full template for this automation. It’s free, and you can find it in the marketplace. This is gonna be a breeze.

Start by loading up a new automation. Search for “deep funnel,” and you should see this automation: “Sending Deep Funnel Conversions to Google Analytics and Facebook.”

Pick one of these, check this box so you can add this stuff to your account, and let’s go.

Give it a second. Soon, you’ll get a prompt letting you know your automation is ready to go. When you see that, you can start editing.

It might seem tricky to edit this automation, but it’s easier than it looks! If you ever want a little extra help, just peek at this checklist for more details on how to set things up.

So, here’s how this works. Every time something new and important happens to one of your contacts, you’re going to send a conversion “event” back to Google and Facebook. Typically, this happens at each stage of your conversion process. 

So, for example, let’s see what this looks like in Ontraport. Our leads usually go through a few conversion stages before they buy:

  • First, they opt in to our list — usually, this is for a free ebook or something.
  • Then they start a free trial…
  • And they request a demo…
  • Then our sales reps confirm whether they’re qualified prospects — aka, “SQLs” or “sales qualified leads” —
  • And finally the smart ones upgrade to a paid account.

Each of these is a conversion event which we can use to optimize our ads in Google and Facebook. 

To do this, we add a trigger in this campaign for each event. Whenever someone goes through a conversion event, the campaign fires that info back to Google and Facebook.

To get started, of course, you’ll need to set up your triggers. You may have certain triggers in mind, and that’s OK — but a good rule of thumb is to use the basic “contact is created” option. It’s already in our template — how convenient.

Next, you’ll just need to edit these “send a webhook” elements. 

In each one, you’ll see these notes. They have lots of details, but for now you’ll just need to find your account ID numbers and add them in. For example, your Google Analytics Account ID would go here.

Here’s the specific info you’ll need on hand:

  1. Your Google Analytics account ID,
  2. Your Google Ads conversion name, if you’re setting up specific conversion goals,
  3. And your Facebook pixel conversion API access token

Facebook has a page that explains how to get your API access token, and since Facebook likes to change things a lot, instead of showing you how it works right now and then being wrong in a little bit, we’ve linked their instructions in the resources section on this page.  

With that information, you’ll just go through the elements on this map and fill in the blanks. Of course, publish your automation at the end to make the magic happen.

While this setup isn’t insanely complicated, we realize that it might be a little out of your comfort zone. Luckily, there are tons of certified Ontraport Experts who are great with this stuff. If you want some assistance, just post your request in the Facebook User Community — someone will jump in to help in no time.

There you go! Now you know how to:

  1. Turn on deep funnel tracking in your account,
  2. See where your data lives inside each contact record, and
  3. Set up the automation that sends that data back to your ad platforms.

Once this is all set, Ontraport will look for this data automatically in your future leads. Any time it finds a new conversion event, it’ll pop it into your ad platforms.

In the next video, we’ll keep learning about advanced marketing features — starting with split testing.
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