Offline marketing has always been tricky to track – making the true effectiveness of your offline campaigns often feel like an unknown.
However, leaving offline out of your marketing attribution analysis only gives you a partial view of the impact of your marketing mix.
So, how can ensure that your offline marketing is getting the share of voice it deserves within your reporting?
We’ll explore this topic here, covering:
- What is offline marketing?
- Why it is important to track your offline efforts
- Some offline attribution challenges
- Tracking offline activity in Google Analytics
- Corvidae’s offline marketing measurement
What is offline marketing?
Offline marketing relates to any type of marketing activity that doesn’t happen online.
Types of offline marketing include:
While digital marketing activity has seen huge growth in recent years there is still a significant amount of spend dedicated to offline activity that includes
- Newspaper and magazine advertisements
- Direct mail
Why is it important to track your offline activity?
By its very nature, offline presents some very specific challenges around attribution and measuring the effectiveness of your advertising efforts.
Here are some of the reasons why this is the case.
Offline is a key part of the customer journey
At the most fundamental level, it is essential that you know how to measure offline marketing activity as it is an integral part of the customer journey.
These customer journeys are increasingly complex, very often taking place across a wide range of devices from mobile to laptops and tablets.
As well as being influenced by a wide variety of on and offline media along the way.
As online and digital spend has increased, the focus has been on trying to tie conversion back to digital touchpoints closer to conversion – at the bottom end of the funnel. Not least by some of the big ad players like Facebook (via Facebook reporting) who can really only track here due to the limited data available to them.
However. the impact of offline media can be a key influence on purchasing decisions too. Particularly in the Awareness phase of their journey. So, it is essential that they get accounted for in measurement terms and that you have a plan for offline marketing attribution.
Offline advertising costs can be cheaper further up the funnel
This is particularly true if you can prove the effectiveness of your ads as a means to ‘hook’ buyers further up the funnel.
However, measuring the effectiveness of media, and offline media in particular, at the top end of the funnel has traditionally been difficult. Which has pushed increasing amounts of overall ad spend into digital lower funnel activity like paid search and retargeting. Resulting in increased competition for a finite amount of inventory and CPA increases of as much as 89%.
Getting a true handle on performance – with effective offline attribution – opens the door to lower cost advertising opportunities in a less crowded marketplace.
All of this feeds into marketing ROI
And, having a clear assessment of the effectiveness of your offline efforts, feeds directly into overall marketing effectiveness and ROI. As you are able to focus more of your spend on media that is really working for you and cut out waste.
3 offline attribution challenges
There are a number of challenges with measuring your offline activity effectively, including:
1. Offline channel specific measurement no longer cuts it
Due to the explosion in digital channels, marketers have more media options available to them than at any time in the past.
And their efforts touch customers in a wider range of ways than ever before too.
Whereas in the past, marketers would typically make assessments of performance at a channel specific level, the focus has moved to understanding the complex interaction of on and offline media right across the customer journey.
And this has very specific implications for gathering actionable data on media that isn’t physically seen by prospective customers but that clearly has an impact on awareness and conversion.
2. Access to data can be an issue
Offline campaigns often require access to high quality contextual data – detailed locational data or offline store footfall data in the case of retailers, for example.
A combination of issues ranging from increased concerns around privacy to technical limitations in the capture and processing of the data can have major implications for the quality and volume of data available for analytics purposes.
While new methods of data measurement offline like Beacon technology, opt-in Wifi and RFID data, the largest touchpoints – TV and Radio – reply on econometrics data which has its challenges including:
- The inability to look beyond channel-level impact for A/B channel or messaging strategy adjustment.
- The fact that it is in a silo from all other data collection strategies, resulting in cannibalisation
- The lack of immediacy in delivering data outcomes
- The fact that it is expensive and less suited to smaller media budgets
3. Connecting online and offline data
And, finally, let’s assume you do have access to all of the data sets you would like to analyse, as many marketers do.
Being able to unify these data sets from both online and offline data sets at scale is pivotal. Which demands access to industrial level data processing capabilities and scalable systems architecture to be able to analyse the data both initially and on ongoing basis.
Which is no mean feat.
Can I use Google Analytics to track offline activity?
In its simplest form, the answer to this is yes.
For example, it is possible to use:
- Dedicated pages or custom URLs – by creating unique landing pages which are designated specifically for use in offline campaigns it is possible to isolate offline campaign impact. For example, if you sell specialist cycling products it would be possible to take an ad in a niche cycling publication and drive traffic to your page
- Redirect domains – you can also use descriptive domains with memorable domain names connected to your product to capture traffic that can redirect to your core site which can be measured in traffic terms
- Search volumes for seeded keywords – it is also possible to use very distinctive phrases or sequences of keywords in offline campaigns that can then be tracked in search and paid search campaign activity
- Discount codes – custom discount codes also offer a quick and easy way to add trackable data to your offline campaigns which can also be tracked in GA
However, these types of solutions are fairly simplistic and prone to error in implementation and interpretation – which is where using attribution software like Corvidae can be a gamechanger for you.
How Corvidae transforms offline marketing measurement
It aims to solve some of the offline tracking and measurement issues by using patented AI and Machine Learning techniques.
Instead of relying on econometrics data, Corvidae analyses and learns from customer response data to offline campaigns.
It identifies signals that suggest a positive response, including traffic and data upticks for certain products – and the dates and times of the day they occurred.
Having identified how customers respond to offline campaigns – including how long they take – Corvidae applies these learnings to measure the impact of those campaigns.
Using the same methodology, it looks for positive signals that suggest an uptick in sales – both online and in-store – resulting from offline marketing activity. It even takes account of “real-life assumptions” like store opening hours and travel time.
By stitching all of this data together it is possible to create a unified view of the impact of both offline and online marketing spend at an individual journey level.
If you’d like to know more about getting started with Corvidae, download our brochure below. Or you can request a demo here.