Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jul-Aug 2015

How to track offline marketing campaigns using online tools

Feature
For advertisers, now is the time to mix their love affair of traditional media with a strong dose of digital.
Photo: The Social 360.
Photo: The Social 360.

Digital media plays an important supporting role in all marketing and communication activities in Pakistan. Already more than 10 million cookies a week access the web in Pakistan (60% mobile), with average media consumption estimated at between one to three hours daily. There are over 19 million Facebook accounts and even local publishers like Tune.pk now serve over 13 million sessions a month. Yet, digital is still considered a secondary ‘good to have’ channel, not an essential one.

Apart from many other advantages, digital can be used to quantitatively measure cross channel efforts – i.e. the impact of what is being done on other media can be measured on a digital platform. Here are some ways of doing this based on the level of digital maturity of the marketing team.

1. The digitally aware marketer

These marketers focus their energies on social channels and web presences that give people information. Their KPIs are traffic, CTR and social engagements (likes, comments, etc.). However, there is little or no strategic objective tied to their marketing objectives.

Direct traffic: For advertisers with a website and a Facebook page, the simplest measure of the efficacy of traditional media online is ‘direct traffic’. These are customers who typed the URL directly on their device or found their way to your social channels via social search. A simple tool like Google Analytics will show you if the direct traffic correlates to the timing of your offline campaign, such as TV spots, print ads or new billboards. You can be sure that those extra visits can be attributed to the offline channels.

HashTracks: Hashes or hashtags (as they are also known) can prove useful in tracking keywords, such as brand or campaign mentions. Hashes can be created for brands, events and campaigns and are easy to track using the standard search tools available on all social channels.

Brand mentions: Traditional marketing can direct consumers to digital channels; it is logical that a popular brand or campaign would have people talking about it online. Popular campaigns covered by media blogs, online buzz and conversations, can be measured even by people who are not analytics savvy. By using reputation and keyword monitoring software, brands can determine what drives ‘conversations’ and who are the ‘influencers’. However, brand or campaign mentions alone do not tell the whole story and marketers should think of creating ‘buzz’ as a concept and aim to create and track this online as well.

2. The digitally activated marketer

These marketers have moved from social into content marketing and CRM and have taken their websites beyond the digital brochure level. Strategic objectives determine KPIs and are measured against marketing objectives.

Site surveys: Site surveys are an increasingly popular way to evaluate the efficacy of online advertising and experiences, customer satisfaction and request for feedback/improvements based on real visitor data. For example, Foodpanda.pk actively survey their digital audiences for channel efficacy and sales ROI. These help gauge ‘brand lift’, defined as the “increase in positive interaction with and/or perception of a brand post-exposure.” Success metrics which make up brand lift, such as unaided and aided brand recall, brand favourability, brand trust, likelihood of visitation to the online/offline store, likelihood of purchase, and likelihood to recommend, can be surveyed from online audiences and if you are digital commerce ready, easily tied to sales.

Custom landing pages: One of the best means to track offline promotions online is via custom landing pages specially created for offline marketing campaigns. For example,

Pepsi could have created www.pepsi.com/liveitabhi for their recent campaign (they didn’t) instead of sending TV audiences directly to www.pepsi.com (they didn’t do that either). Custom landing pages focus the content and the audience’s attention around the incoming visitors’ profiles. For example, TV audiences can be directed to visit www.pepsi.com/liveitabhi, while outdoor audiences can be directed to www.pepsi.com/liveitoutdoors. Each page will have content specific to its incoming traffic. This allows advertisers to segment audiences (and efficacy) even better. Coca-Cola seems to have created a small landing page for its 100 years of Coke campaign (www.coca-cola.com.pk). A good rule of thumb is to keep custom page URLs short. Typing out complicated URLs, especially on mobile phones is a very tedious exercise.

Redirected domains: Another way to track offline promotions is through domains specifically created to redirect visitors to (ideally) custom landing pages or your main website. Using the same example as above, Pepsi Pakistan creates www.liveitabhi.com and advertises it on traditional channels. A person typing this URL automatically redirects to www.pepsi.com. With the unique URL, marketers can easily track audiences from traditional media referrals independently via their analytics tools.

Customised discount codes: Custom discount codes are another popular solution to track offline marketing campaigns. They are also simple enough to implement; the advertiser can place a customised discount code in each channel. MI Digital, for example, promises anyone who uses the code AURORA15 a 15% discount if you send us a query from our website www.midigital.co. Unique codes in each city area or medium can help track offline efficacy.

3. The digitally addicted marketer

These marketers use data, analytics, and marketing-automation platforms. They have a digital strategy in place covering integrated and multi-channel marketing and they are looking into or already have integrated customer services/CRM, sales, and inventory management capabilities with their digital solutions.

Correlation analysis: With second-screen device usage going up (especially during events like the Cricket World Cup) marketers can optimise TV spends with the same accurate granularity as digital. Using sophisticated analytics solutions, advertisers can overlay the TV media spots data on a minute-by-minute basis over the analytics data gathered from all channels, thereby enabling them to see the incremental lift, while unearthing spot opportunities for greater efficacy both immediately and over the long term. Marketers can segment based on Activity Type Data (search increases by brand and category keywords, direct and call-ins), Device Type Data (data by desktop PC, mobile and tablets) and Other Pairings Data (mobile/ISP network and programme, TVC versioning efficacy, TVC length efficacy, day-parting data and even geography can be correlated). With digital commerce integrated, the marketer’s actual conversion and sales data can also be fed to this TV attribution data set to provide ROI metrics.

Branded and related searches: Searches on brand name terms or campaigns correlate nicely with offline media. This is especially true for a campaign running with a unique slogan, as this helps in tracking searches.

Cross-channel loyalty programmes: Loyalty programmes designed to reward cross-channel use are ready to be launched in Pakistan. These loyalty cards will give advertisers the ability to track sales from a micro-segment. The unique identifiers when connected to actions online and offline will provide a rich source of behavioural data that can be used to customise offerings personalised to customers wherever they are.

The time is coming when due to increasing fragmentation, the need to maximise the overall ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend) will become the advertiser’s foremost priority. There is a real need to go beyond CTR and understand digital media channels better with cross channel attribution initiatives along with the possibilities and the efficiencies to be gained for the future. For advertisers, now is the time to mix their love affair of traditional media with a strong dose of digital.

Umair Mohsin is Global Director, MI Digital. umair.mohsin@midigital.co