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Track the Online ROI of Offline Advertising

Even though the 21st century is definitely a digital era, we simply cannot disregard the real world that we live in. It is true that offices, storage and marketing are all migrating online and this is a good thing. However, we’re not out of the woods yet and some make a mistake of disregarding offline aspects of their marketing believing that it is something outdated, a relic of the past. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In face offline advertising is very much alive and has yet to play a crucial role in your ROI (return on investment). Still, in order to be able to tell for sure that this is so, you must first find a way to track this offline advertising ROI online.

Difficult to track

Now, before we even start, it isn’t accidental that online advertising gained edge in the first place. However, what you will be surprised by is that the main reason is not effectiveness but convenience of tracking. Namely, anyone who follows the URL of your website from a given online ad can easily be tracked. Even if that person doesn’t just click on it but looks it up later, a connection can be drawn. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to know when a person came to your website or purchased in your store because of an offline ad. Difficult, but not impossible.

As you may have already guessed, it all comes down to one of two things. Either money or ingenuity. Sure, it would be a piece of cake for a major conglomerate to monitor ROI of their offline campaign. All they would have to do is conduct an expensive research, hire a team of analysts and consultants and there you have it. On the other hand, small businesses and startups need to find a cunning approach, one that is not too heavy on their modest means.

A simple questionnaire

Sure, you can add a simple questionnaire that would pop up as soon as someone enters your website, but this works as more of a scare technique than anything else. Most people are quite antagonistic towards surveys (especially popup ones), and adding this questionnaire into a purchase process further slows it down, which lowers down an overall quality of service. This is why, a cunning approach is often more effective than a bold one.

Custom URL

This step is quite simple and extremely effective. When it comes to offline ads, you have various mediums available. For example, you could be using street banners, sign boards, pamphlet distribution or some other similar commercial printing services. The solution is quite simple, for each one of these mediums come up with a different custom URL (or even take a different domain). This way, by landing on that specific URL you will be able to tell precisely, in what way were they influenced to visit you. You can even make different commodities like gifting code to further encourage your customers to use that precise URL to access you. As far as reliability goes, this method pretty much hits the bull’s-eye.


Next thing you will need to do is setup a 301 redirect to where you want your visitors to land. This shouldn’t be too difficult but it is absolutely vital for your future analytics endeavors. Namely, you must not forget to add the (shown below by ?utm=*) in the end. This includes Google Analytics into your campaign parameters which will be vital in any further analysis of your market. Sure, you may collect your data but without Google Analytics it will be nearly impossible to turn all of this into a viable information. Because of this, it is absolutely vital that you get familiar with this software.

Parameters of medium, source and campaign name should serve as a cornerstone of your survey. First of all comes medium which is the general channel through which your URL was delivered to your future customers. Here, you have usual mediums like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines as well as the aforementioned other printed ads like flyers. Source of course, represents a specific place where your visitors were initially introduced to your brand. Finally, if you have several different marketing campaigns, you will need to include specific campaign name in order to differentiate between them.

Google Analytics

Finally, your journey has come to a full circle and now you can use virtual tools, to observe a success rate of your offline advertising efforts. If you have done your job as thoroughly as possible these parameters will be able to tell you precisely which medium your customers prefer as well as which one of them has so far proven itself as the most cost-effective. After this, you will have some basic idea of how and where to allocate your funds in order to get optimal ROI. This just might be a competitive edge you were looking for.

The world of modern business is a cold and unforgiving place, which means that you should look for help wherever you may find it. With this in mind, offline advertising may be just the thing you need to gain a competitive edge. On the other hand, you will not know just how useful it is until you have a way to successfully track its ROI via reliable software.

Written By

Raul is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he's not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on

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