How To Track The Online Results Of Your Offline Advertising

Whilst a marketing manager used to spread budgets widely to obtain greater marketing penetration this has now been replaced by a new age of data driven marketing strategists who allocate budgets purely based on performance. To work out the performance of each marketing channel marketers must rely on tracking, but how can you track offline marketing activities?

Tracking Website Visitors

If you use your website address in offline advertising, any website visitors generated will show in Google Analytics as Direct Traffic. This means the source of this traffic will not be able to be broken down and thus ROI not calculated. To enable tracking of these visitors a different URL or a subdomain with a redirect should be used.

For example if you manage Pizza Hut and want to track the success of an advertising campaign you could use www.madmondays.co.nz as the URL in the advertising in place of www.pizzahut.co.nz. When a user goes to this URL they should automatically be redirected (using a 301 redirect) to:

  • http://www.pizzahut.co.nz/?utm_source=the-press&utm_medium=full-page&utm_campaign=mad-mondays

Assuming you are using Google Analytics all of this traffic will then show under the campaign report. Pizza Hut could also use a subdomain such as http://madmondays.pizzahut.co.nz/ or a unique link such as http://www.pizzahut.co.nz/madmondays with a redirect applied however this is a more inaccurate way of tracking as people may only notice the pizzahut.co.nz part of the domain name.

A campaign report in Google Analytics showing the success of different marketing campaigns.

A campaign report in Google Analytics showing the success of different marketing campaigns.

Using 301 Redirects and tracked URLs also allows the use of landing pages which can increase the conversion rate and therefore the overall ROI. Once you have set up tracking for all of your offline campaigns you should start split testing to try to improve the conversion rate of this traffic.

Tracking Phone Calls

To track the phone calls generated from your offline marketing you should use dedicated phone numbers for each campaign – the cost of extra numbers is relatively low these days and although you will need to move away from any vanity numbers your businesses uses the tracking and data you get will be well worth it. To save money you can recycle the numbers after use as calls generated will die down within weeks.

If you want to take your campaigns top the next level then I recommend utilising multiple numbers for each campaign and tracking the calls generated from each type of advertising or placement – you can also split test your ads in this way making sure to use custom links and custom phone numbers for each ad and measuring the results of each to determine the winner.

Using a phone tracking company you can even feed this data directly into Google Analytics which can combine with the website tracking to give you an easy-to-read breakdown of an overall campaigns performance. .

Using the data generated from tracking your offline advertising will allow you to make better decisions on where to allocate your marketing budget and increase your overall ROI. Like all tracking, these two methods will never be 100% accurate – someone may see your advertising offline then search for your brand and click through via your paid advertising, falsely attributing the sale. However, as all of your offline marketing sources will be faced with this same issue it is still accurate when using the results as a guide for which advertising is producing the best results.

Duncan Jones

About The Author - Duncan Jones

I am a data-driven digital marketing specialist from New Zealand and im passionate about helping businesses and marketing professionals improve their digital marketing results. I have a focus on performance marketing, insist on tracking everything and love optimising & improving campaigns for clients across a huge range of industries. You can find me on LinkedIn here or you can contact me here.

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