While we often debate how effectively we can track ROI online, it’s occasionally worth stepping back and remembering that the ability to track transactions and engagement points online is actually a luxury.
In the offline domain the ability to effectively track ads and effectiveness can be severely limited. How do you know if your billboard campaign is effective?
Here’s a few ways to track what customers are up to when they’re off the grid.
The most basic of metrics but one of the most revealing for offline campaigns.
If you experience a sudden rush to your site as an offline campaign launches or even as a specific ad airs, you can be reasonably sure that it’s affecting web traffic. While this won’t account for everyone it is a reasonable indicator of interest.
If you have several campaigns running at once then you may wish to use this to track brand awareness rather than specific campaign success.
You can also hone in on this by localising your offline efforts. Track localised traffic bursts for maximum accuracy.
Having a specific code or phrase related to a campaign is an old tactic but it’s still useful, especially if you have a wide range of products available.
By allocating exact codes you can track touch points easily, both through direct response and by tracking searches for your specific code or phrase.
Remember to match SEO around key phrases before launching in order to generate solid results here.
This might sound obvious but many businesses still funnel their tracking. If you experience an increase in online sales, then remember to attribute it to all campaigns.
It’s easy to say “sales are up 14%, our new Facebook campaign is really paying off” while forgetting about the impact your print ads had on this.
Make sure you include web branding and URLs on all your offline literature to increase cross-channel effect, and consistently track searches for specific products by volume for more accurate metrics.
Increasingly consumers are putting their trust in word of mouth, so add space on your site for reviews, questions and comments about specific products.
Most customers who leave an opinion will have already bought the product so others will feel confidant they’re getting an accurate and trustworthy look at your product.
If you have a series of campaigns running, ask customers to tell you more about where and when they purchased.
If you want to accurately track conversion from offline promotions, then it’s worth considering setting up campaign specific sites and landing pages.
Not only will this provide consumers with an easily remembered phrase or URL to search for, but you can use it as a redirect to your main site and more easily isolate the figures your offline campaign is generating.
Again, search queries can really pay off here so make sure you are tracking phrases related to your offline campaign in addition to your regular keywords.
For example, you may be running a TV ad that has a great soundtrack. Keep an eye on searches for that song, and for related searches like ‘xxx product ad tune’.
While these may not be transferring directly into sales they do show that you are having impact offline.
In addition, check your usual web channels. Is there an increase in blog posts about your product or about a specific campaign or are you receiving an increase in links from new sources?
For digital marketers it’s often tempting to think of offline as less sophisticated. However, just as online we have the option to measure email, direct, paid and organic search, affiliates and any number of other factors, offline represents a huge range of interactions and possible effects.
The ultimate goal here is to effectively map customer behavior.
By increasing your efforts to track offline, you’ll also be able to promote your multichannel more effectively, and improve your service across the board.