We spend a lot of time thinking about our online advertising strategy, but recent studies have shown than 82 percent or more of the money companies spend on advertising actually occurs offline. Without a good way to track ROI on offline advertising, it is impossible to know if those efforts are bearing fruit or if we are simply wasting our time.
How Big Are Offline Ads?
Offline advertising cannot simply be divorced from online advertising; the two are linked in several ways. In fact, much of the value that businesses see from offline advertising comes from linking the website to some offline source. For example, if an ad in a mailer contains a website, those who receive the mailout may visit the website. It is difficult to track this type of ROI but it is definitely important to know how visitors got to the website to start with.
If offline advertising really does account for 82 percent of the average business’s ad spending, how can we track the conversion rate from offline to online forms of interaction?
How To Track Offline ROI in Three Easy Steps
There is actually a simple way to track ROI from offline advertising. Business owners or SEO managers who want to know how much business is generated from offline sources should do the following:
- Create a custom URL for offline ads. A vanity domain or a unique landing page is the simplest way to track offline conversion to online shoppers. Setting up a unique URL that is not linked to any PPC or other online campaigns will let you know quickly exactly how much interest your offline efforts are generating. However, be sure that the URL is unique enough that the user has the incentive to type in the full address and not simply stop at your home page.
- Set up a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect will allow a vanity domain to redirect to the home page or some chosen landing page once you have secured the customer by having him or her visit the original site.
- Include Google Analytics campaign parameters. When you set up your redirect, be sure to include the ?utm=* parameter. You should be sure to include in the parameter a source, medium and campaign name so that you can easily track your ROI.
This simple solution will allow any business owner to track ROI from outside sources and separate it from PPC and other online campaign traffic.