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Measuring Offline Marketing Using Google Analytics

4 minute read

Chris Leone   by Chris Leone September 6, 2013

Crafting Content StrategyThe following post was recently featured on WorkIt Richmond, an email newsletter and website catering to small businesses in the Richmond, Virginia area.

As users become increasingly tech savvy and the web more interwoven into our daily lives, the barrier between online and offline marketing worlds has crumbled. In 2012, an offline marketing campaign almost always leads to some form of online activity - be it a visit to your website, a search of user reviews, or a visit to your social channels. Given that the web is such a measurable platform, we have the opportunity to measure the impact of these offline campaigns as it relates to online behavior.

The following are 3 ideas that can help you bridge the gap between your offline marketing investment and online user impact.

Vanity URLs

It’s commonplace to promote web addresses in most offline marketing, but promoting your actual web address is a missed opportunity. If you want to isolate the impact of a specific campaign, advertise a unique web address in your ad copy. It should still send someone to your main website, but you can separately track anyone who typed the vanity URL.

For example, if your website address is acmesportinggoods.com, run an offline campaign with ChooseAcme.com or AcmeChallenge.com. Typing in ChooseAcme.com will still send people to your main AcmeSportingGoods.com site, but we know anyone who came in originally through ChooseAcme.com was influenced by your campaign.

Google Adwords

Buying keywords in Google can do more than drive traffic to your site. It can be a very effective way to measure how often people search terms related to your brand. For those unfamiliar with Google Adwords, here’s how it works: you create a list of terms for which you want your ads to show. When someone searches any one of those terms, your ad shows up. Pretty simple, right?

To leverage this for tracking offline campaigns, have your ads show whenever someone searches your brand name. 100% of people will not click your ad, but that’s not the point. We want to monitor how many times your ad gets triggered (known as an impression). The more your ad is triggered, the more people are searching your brand.

Branded Search Impression

It’s important to grasp that not everyone who searches your brand in Google wants to come to your site. Some want to read reviews, some are looking for coupons, others are looking for your address in Google Places. By tracking how often your ad is triggered, you’ll have a way to measure all of these searchers, no matter where they end up.

[Read Top Metrics for Online Paid Ad Campaigns to find out which metrics to really pay attention to.]

Branded Search Impressions

Measuring Direct & Branded Traffic

Using the method above, we can track how many people are searching our brand name, regardless of whether they arrive on our website. Now we want to track the actual impact on our website.

There are several different ways someone can arrive on your site, but there are two channels in particular we should pay attention to when measuring offline response: branded traffic and direct traffic.

Branded traffic represents the number of people who search your brand name in a search engine and then click through to your site. These people may not know your web address or just prefer going through Google. Direct visitors come to your site by typing your website address directly into their browser.

Direct vs. Branded Search

Let’s look at an example. The graph below shows branded and direct traffic together over time for the geographic area our new offline campaign. You’ll notice no meaningful fluctuations in traffic volume. The data suggests the campaign was ineffective at driving additional online response.

measuring offline marketing using google analytics CTT

Branded Traffic Google Analytics

Due to the lack performance, we decide to try a different offline campaign. Using the same report as above, we notice the following:

Branded traffic online response

The new campaign that launched in June is having a very clear impact on driving more visitors into the site from our targeted geographic location.

Of course, it doesn’t end with traffic. We need to see how this traffic performs in terms of taking meaningful action.

Using online tracking tools, we are able to accumulate a wealth of data about our online campaigns. As more people rely on the web to make decisions, we now have the opportunity to measure offline response as well.

[Check out Five More Website Design Techniques to learn ways you can guide visitors to perform desired actions on your site.]

To learn more about and implement integrated online and offline marketing efforts specific to your business contact WebStrategies, Inc. online or by phone at 804-200-4545.

 


 

As President, Chris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of WebStrategies. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blogs, and he’s a regular columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.

 

Topics: Web Analytics, Online Marketing

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