“How do organizations measure the success of their offline advertising (e.g. billboards)?”
You’ve probably heard the canonical quote by management theorist Peter Drucker: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” So, it’s no coincidence that the question (that is the title of this post) gets frequently asked, however offline marketing campaigns present marketers with a challenge since there is no inherent or baked in analytics tool to measure such endeavors. The answer: create a “digital tie-in.”
I don’t believe any marketer that is worth their salt will disagree that today, the efficacy of an offline campaign largely depends on digital-traditional (or tradigital) integration.
Here’s my answer to the above question recently posted:
- Setup a personalized URL or PURL, and/or a QR code—displayed prominently on your billboard (assuming your target audience knows how to use this medium)— that will lead your customers to a highly-relevant landing page where they can read more about the offer and most importantly “take action.” This online behavior can and should be tracked with analytics.
- Give your customers the option to call: have a unique phone number on the billboard that is tracked (e.g. # of calls, duration of call, resulting actions or sales) so that you have a clear view of your sales funnel. I’ve seen companies large and small use google voice to funnel this type of traffic, for free. There are much more sophisticated and expensive systems out there for larger campaigns but this one is free and give you simple analytics.
- If you’re displaying on a digital billboard, you should have the unique opportunity to do A/B testing to see which offer is pulling more action—lather, rinse, repeat.
- Always have clear, strong and low-friction calls-to-action (CTAs): make sure the consumer can answer the “why” in your advertisement (e.g. why should I call in, or “like” you on facebook, or inquire more about the offer?)
- Depending on your organization/product, you may want to run an on-hold message ad for your CS and sales lines, again the same concepts apply (PURL, CTA, measuring action in the sales funnel).
- Depending on the size of your brand and marketing budget, send periodic surveys and make sure to include a question about where your customers have seen your brand (e.g. billboard, direct, tv, radio, in-store, etc.). If appropriate, ask this question and take note at the POS.
These concepts will also work for direct mail, radio, tv, etc., except that with direct you can segment your list which gives you the opportunity to display/sell a more targeted offer. Television/radio/billboard will be more of a broadcasted message, though there are niche time slots and programming options in today’s hyper-fragmented media model.
Another note: I don’t really believe that you can run a truly, “offline” advertisement. When is the last time you saw a billboard without a URL? How many consumer-facing companies don’t have some sort of a (albeit poorly managed) social media presence. Consumers are so “wired” and digitally enabled these days, it makes no sense to run a siloed offline campaign because a) it’s more difficult to measure—which I presume is why this question was asked in the first place, and b) you’ll get a poorer response rate. There are exceptions to probably everything that I’ve mentioned here, however, I use these best practices with my clients.
Can anybody add to my list or provide experience that contradicts my points? Please post below…