Using Google Analytics to Track Offline Marketing Campaigns

industrial trade showWhen your business uses offline marketing such as participation in trade shows or publishing print ads, you want to see return on investment.  There may be an increase in your web traffic after these activities, but how do you correlate the two?  Furthermore, how do you evaluate the quality of visitors the campaign brought in?

Luckily, it is possible to integrate your offline marketing with Google Analytics – it just takes a little foresight and effort.  With the proper tracking in place, you will be able to use this measurement tool to enhance your marketing.  Time to get to work!

1.  Define Your Campaign
The first step in tracking offline marketing with Google Analytics is to define your campaign.  This is important for basic business reasons as well, so you can assign a set amount of resources to it and be able to determine ROI.  The value here is your defined name for the campaign.

2.  Determine the Medium
Next, you need to determine the medium(s) for the campaign.  How will your message be delivered?  Examples are: newsletter, magazine, radio, and TV commercial

3.  Specify the Source
The last thing to specify is the campaign’s source(s).  This is a more detailed take on the medium; if we were online it would be the referring page.  Where exactly is the visit coming from?  Here you would list the publication title or other source-specific information.

4.  Build Your Tracking URL
Now that you have defined your campaign, medium, and source, you are ready to get to the heart of the Google Analytics integration: the tracking URL.

Let’s do an example.  Our campaign is for the 4th Quarter of 2013, and we will be handing out a flyer with a QR code.  We will also be putting a print ad in the Star Tribune newspaper and Twin Cities Business magazine.

Google has specific tags for each value type:

  • Campaign is utm_campaign
  • Medium is utm_medium
  • Source is utm_source

In order to distinguish visitors from each particular campaign distribution, they must all have a unique URL.  To do this, the tags are entered after the website’s URL in what is known as a query string.

Here is what our three URLs would look like:

  • http://www.yoursite.com/?utm_source=flyer&utm_medium=qrcode&utm_campaign=q4_2013
  • http://www.yoursite.com/?utm_source=star_tribune&utm_medium=newspaper&utm_campaign=q4_2013
  • http://www.yoursite.com/?utm_source=tc_business&utm_medium=magazine&utm_campaign=q4_2013

Google has a handy URL Builder if you prefer to be walked through the parameters and have the URL automatically generated for you.

5.  Get a Custom URL
The tracking code is now in the URL, but it is really long and confusing!  That’s okay.  The best option to remedy this is by using custom URLs and redirects.  By using subfolders on your site for each unique URL, visitors will be automatically redirected to your main page while still tracking the individual channels used to get there.

For our examples, we might consider using:

  • www.yoursite.com/tradeshow
  • www.yoursite.com/startrib
  • www.yoursite.com/tcbiz

Contact your site administrator to have redirects implemented for all of your new custom pages.  If you decide to go it alone, this page provides information in multiple programming languages.

6.  Testgoogle analytics offline marketing
Following best practices, you now need to test everything.  Make sure you are on a device that has its IP address filtered from your Google Analytics profile.  This ensures the test visits will not count towards your ROI.  Enter the URLs and make sure they redirect properly.  Assuming all goes well, log into your Google Analytics account and go to the unfiltered profile.  You should see your activity within one day.  If it does not appear, check to ensure the variables in the tracking URL were entered correctly.

In Google Analytics, traffic is broken down in the Acquisition menu.  By clicking on Channels, you are able to see it broken out.  Your offline campaigns will appear as (Other), as shown in the image.  Click on it to see your campaign further broken out by source.

7.  Analyze the Data
You’re ready to track!  Attend those trade shows and hand out flyers, get your ad in an industry publication or local newspaper – wherever your offline marketing takes you, Google Analytics will now be with you.  After the campaign – or during, if you’re really excited about watching numbers like I am – log into your Google Analytics filtered profile and take a look.  Which sources brought in the most traffic?  Which medium converted best?  There is a myriad of data at your fingertips – dive in!

Want to learn more about tracking your offline marketing campaigns with Google Analytics or just need a little help getting started?  Ecreativeworks offers analytics services tailored to meet your needs – contact us today!

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