Tracking ROI on Offline Advertising

Effective marketing professionals are constantly monitoring and questioning how they are spending their marketing budget, if their messaging is reaching the right audience, and how to develop ways to track the effectiveness of their tactics.

With the availability of web statistics – Google Analytics for websites, Hootsuite Analytics for Twitter, and Insights for Facebook – a business is able to see who is viewing their online marketing content, how often they visit the site, and even how long they stayed on the site. Measuring the effectiveness of offline marketing can be more difficult.

To gauge the effectiveness of offline advertising (print ads, brochures, postcards, etc.) marketers can create ways to track their reach, similar to what is being done with internet marketing.

One tracking solution is the use of custom URLs. Custom URLs allow marketers to track and analyze the number of visitors going to their website from a specific advertising piece.

Here’s how it works:

When an advertisement is placed in three different print publications, marketers will need to track which publication directed the most visitors to their website. For each ad, a unique custom URL is created, thus adding a valuable tracking mechanism. Examples of custom URLs are:

Web programmers can create these URLs so they lead visitors to a specific website page (i.e. the home page or a special offer page made specifically for these visitors). Then, marketers can use analytics data to view the amount of traffic the custom URL address directed to the site.

This concept is effective because it can also be extended to collateral pieces, such as brochures or postcards. Public relations professionals can even add custom URLs to news releases in order to track the number of website visitors drawn from each release.

Disclaimer: Not everyone who visits your site will use the custom URL—some people may intuitively type in the main company URL.

Tracking data to determine ROI is useful for all business marketing tactics. In the case of three print ads, if you realize that one ad is driving 50 percent more visitors to your website than the others, you may want to increase your presence in that publication. Custom URLs can be an effective tool to ensure you’re spending your marketing dollars on the right tactics.

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