A recent survey of 200 retailers in the United States showed that online campaigns delivered better ROI than offline marketing initiatives for over 76% of the participants. Despite this, offline marketing continues to garner a significant chunk of a business’ annual marketing budget. According to an eMarketer report, American retailers spent nearly 80% of their marketing budget on offline campaigns in 2016.
This is a tricky line to tread for a marketer. On one hand, online campaigns deliver precise targeting and provide accurate measurement of ROI and this makes it attractive. At the same time, consumers still spend a significant amount of time offline and the opportunity is too good to pass up. The ideal middle path is to integrate your offline promotions with your digital initiatives that will ensure better monitoring of your campaigns.
Hashtags are among the more popular channels to track the effectiveness of offline campaigns. TV commercials routinely nudge viewers to express their support for a cause or to participate in a contest by posting specific hashtags on social media channels like Facebook or Twitter. While the number of hashtags itself does not mean anything, there are several ways businesses benefit by tracking these hashtags.
The TRP system to calculate the number of viewers watching a TV channel at any given time is known to be quite inaccurate and meaningless. The frequency of hashtags posted immediately after your ad gets broadcast on a TV channel or radio station gives marketers a better idea about the relative performance of these various ad slots.
Social media posts are a viral phenomenon. Sometimes all it takes for a campaign to go viral is for a few influencers to talk about your brand and use your hashtags. Because of the digital trail that social media posts leave behind, it is possible to accurately monitor the growth of a campaign from a handful of tweets into a trend. This digital trail also helps marketers identify the influencers who enabled this success of a campaign.
Marketing campaigns through text messages, direct mail, or even billboards are popular because of the extremely low cost for mass outreach. However, such campaigns suffer from poor tracking given that customers from these channels often do not leave a trail while making a purchase. One survey of direct mail ad recipients found that nearly 73% of these survey participants looked at every coupon sent to them. But sales through such offline campaigns cannot be accurately tracked to this specific channel. One way to fix this problem is to offer incentives for these customers to establish a digital trail. For instance, direct mail coupon recipients may be offered discounts on online or phone purchase, which makes it necessary for these buyers to leave a trail. Similarly, customers who are reached out to through text messages may be asked to send a message to a specific number to express interest. Such techniques help marketers get a better grasp over the effectiveness of these different channels.
Google-forwarding phone number
Local businesses that rely on phone calls rather than websites for customer inquiries make use of Google-forwarding phone numbers for their Adwords campaigns. It works like this—businesses register for a unique phone number from Google that may be displayed on their website or on their ads. This allows businesses to track various parameters like caller ID, call duration, call start and end times from within the Google Analytics dashboard.
Google-forwarding phone numbers may also be used by marketers to track the performance of their print and billboard ads. Such numbers do not cost a lot and marketers may use unique phone numbers or caller extension to independently track their ads across various print and offline marketing channels.
Offline advertisements typically use both a phone number and a website URL for the interested prospect. Phone numbers work best when your business has only one product or service offering (plumbing, lawn mowing, etc.). For retail businesses that deal with products like apparels or sports gears, customers prefer checking out a website URL rather than calling up your business over the phone. Marketers may build sales pages with custom URLs that are only advertised over one particular ad channel. This way, it is possible to track visitors coming off any specific ad on a newspaper or magazine.
Regardless of what the media says, offline media channels like print magazines or newspapers are not going away any time soon. There is an opportunity cost to not advertising on these channels. That is the reason why print ad sales continue to grow despite the growing popularity of the online advertising channel. The strategies and techniques outlined above go a long way in establishing a digital trail for offline campaigns and can help a marketer track the performance of offline campaigns more effectively.