Down and Dirty Offline Promotion Tracking

Posted on by Jason Bean

Warning: Site TrafficContrary to what most online marketers will tell you, you’re probably still spending money on some offline marketing and promotions right? Maybe some print media, a radio spot, maybe even a TV commercial.

You’ll probably want to try and capitalize on those efforts and gain some traffic to your website while you’re at it, but how can you know how those efforts are working for your website traffic?

Generally you’d expect to see an increase in branded search terms for your company. If there were a unique component of the advertisement like a talking dog or something, you’d probably expect to see some search traffic on a phrase like “[company name] talking dog commercial”.

You could try…

  • You should of course include your website domain in your advertisement, but if people just type the domain, that traffic will appear like any other direct traffic source.
  • You could use a QR code, but people say those are dead, even though I love them, and you could track the URL that the QR code directs people to visit.
  • You could register a whole new domain for your advertising campaign, but you may not want to go through that trouble.
  • You could try a #hashtag, but those are really more for engaging traffic on social media platforms, not necessarily a web search.
  • You could use campaign tracking in your query string on the url, but then you’ve got an unbearably long URL you’re hoping someone types correctly.
  • You could put a bit.ly link on your ad that shortens that giant campaign url, but most people probably won’t know what that link is and not trust it. Plus you have to make sure they type it in correctly.

Here’s an idea I had recently for a friend and it has apparently been working like a charm for them.

Use a Sub-Domain URL with a DNS Redirect

You’ve already got your domain name, take advantage of some strategically planned sub-domains.

For instance, imagine we had the following ad campaigns and each URL was used in a specific piece:

At the DNS level I create these subdomains and redirect them to wherever I want on my website. It could be the homepage, or an internal page. The key is that on the redirect, use the campaign tracking functionality available within Google Analytics to register the details of your campaign. If you need help with campaign tracking, the folks at Raven Tools have a nice little tool available at www.gaconfig.com to create these links easily.

With the examples above, I’d redirect to campaigns structured like the following:

http://fox59.deepripples.com => http://www.deepripples.com?utm_source=fox59&utm_medium=tv&utm_campaign=offline

The great part though is all someone has to remember to type in is fox59.deepripples.com. Hopefully that shouldn’t be too large of a hurdle since it should be fairly easy for them to remember where there heard/saw the ad and to know our brand and basic URL for the website.

About Jason Bean

Jason Bean
Jason Bean is an eclectic mix of the introverted technology guru and the ultimate people person. He is Deep Ripples’ technical unicorn, a mystery of talents wrapped in an enigma. With seven years of software and application development experience, Jason has incorporated the necessary balance between data crunching and translating technical jargon into a language all company members can understand and apply.

4 Responses to Down and Dirty Offline Promotion Tracking

  1. After searching out the best minds to help me track my print piece you gave me the brilliant idea of redirecting the subdomain to a url with campaign tags. Prior to that I had been using subdomains to help track print pieces and other marketing, but found it cumbersome to filter and report on them. With little to no budget for landing pages or fancy tracking tools I found the campaign tag tracking idea to be extremely helpful because it was simple to execute and free.

  2. Jason Bean says:

    I’m glad that worked well for you Chris. Thanks for stopping by and sharing on the post and reminding me the idea I gave you so I could write a blog post for this week!

  3. Great idea! Just be sure to create a “www.*” version, as well since some people will inevitably add the “www” even though it’s not listed.

  4. Jason Bean says:

    The “www.” or non-www. version’s should be handled by default and redirected appropriately to your preferred domain variation. Taking care of that would be a task outside of the tracking of a specific sub-domain usage correct?