Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts to measure offline advertising

August 11, 2006

Measuring offline advertising is a pain and a lot of people make major mistakes. Here my top 10 Do’s and Don’ts of measuring offline advertising

 1. Don’t setup a new domain

No. 1 fault of many webanalytics guys is to create a separate domain for their offline campaigns. A separate domain might give you great stats, but will confuse your users and also harm (duplicate content) or effect (no inbound links) your SEO efforts.

 2.  Don’t use www.widget.com/myoffer   or http://myoffer.widget.com

If you start using a subdomain or suffixes/prefixes on your site you might catch all the users. That is what the agency will tell you. The truth is that a lot of visitors don’t visit your suffixes/prefixes or subdomain page at all. If you see a TV ad for Mercedes Benz USA, do you visit www.mbusa.com/tv ? Maybe you as an internet savvy person, but not the average Mercedes driver.

To make this worse, some marketing guys will tell you to use javascript re-directs. Big no no. Just ask your SEO.

3. Never trust publisher / TV ratings numbers

Identifying effective marketing mediums is one of the most difficult things. Publishers love to give you circulation, subscriber or even printing numbers and tell you how highly effective your campaign will be. The truth is that circulation numbers won’t say anything. Printing numbers are also pretty useless and subscriber numbers I don’t even want to hear. Publisher numbers are the “offline Alexa”. Use them as an indicator, but don’t waste too much time with it. If you need numbers, you can look at the Audit bureau of circulations.

4. Try to use coupons if your business allows it

Coupons are great. Coupons rule! Join the billion $ coupon market. If your website supports coupons, use coupons. People somehow always want to get a deal and tracking coupons is an easy task.

5. Issue-By-Issue Magazine Measurement

Readership.com recently partnered with Comscore and formed a new print ratings service. Try it out if you have the money. If you don’t have the money try services like PrintAd.Info

6. Use special pricing 

Start giving your offline offers a special price might be a good idea to track success. With special pricing you easily can identify users. But make sure you label these users and only show them the special pricing. This method won’t be accurate, but will give you a good idea.

7. Track your phone lines

Incoming calls from offline advertising can be one of the best things you can do. With new VOIP services (not talking about skype!) you are able to track, record, redirect callers. The accuracy of phone calls can be much higher than Cookie or logfile tracking and can be a big boost for your profits.

8. Label/Tag your users AND merge your data

No matter what: Label or tag your visitors and merge this data with other data sources (phone calls / coupons…). Never use a single data set.

9. Don’t use Googles offline Print Ad (yet)

Many testers reported poor results. Wait till Google will find a more effective way. Give them some time.

10. Track and test, track and test

Always double check your numbers. Test again, track, test again ….

 Anything missing or wrong? Feel free to comment!

2 Responses to “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts to measure offline advertising”

  1. pawel Says:

    Interesting set of guidelines. I agree that tv or radio are most difficult to track online – you have so little time that it’s very difficult to pass anything outside of the company homepage.

    However for e.g. press ads having marcom url – http://www.company.com/promo_name seems like good choice.

    You can look at my post comparing pros and cons of various ways of presenting this (focused on print):
    http://rightweb.wordpress.com/2006/08/09/

    Thanks for interesting thoughs on it. BTW – what is Goofle offline print Ad?


  2. Thanks for your input! Great ideas at your blog!

    Currently most of the advertisers use boring suffixes. I still don’t like the idea. Your Mac example is is probably the best approach. It would make sense to use http://www.mbusa.com/sclass instead of http://www.bmw.com/tv.

    Regarding Google print ads my posting is not up to date. It seems that they have ended the test phase:
    http://services.google.com/marketing/links/aw-print-pub-ads


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