Ways to Track Print Advertising

Print advertising is a strong medium for reaching the masses, but since the inception of the internet, it’s gotten a bad wrap because there’s simply no “google analytics” for print and you’ve got to put more effort into tracking it’s effect.  These things don’t make the medium useless though.  Beware of the bandwagon.  Instead of assuming the effectiveness of a print ad campaign based on what you’ve heard others say, educate yourself and use these suggested methods to track your print promotional methods and make statements based on what you have researched.

Custom URL in your print ad
It is very simply to make a custom URL from your own domain.  You or your web developer can create an extension of your domain like “www.yoursite.com/freeoffer”  or “www.yoursite.com/new.”  The purpose of this custom URL would be to track the traffic this domain receives in your analytics account.  Direct traffic to this domain clearly comes from the medium in which you promoted it on.

Custom phone number in your print ad
There are several companies that offer phone tracking services to help advertisers gain a clear understanding of their ad campaigns.  The numbers are often 1-800 numbers that even record phone conversations.  As the business owner you can login and see how many calls were placed to this number and even listen to the recordings to track employee performance.   Dial 800 is an example of such a company.

Understand your Google Analytics
I think this is one of the most intelligent ways you can track any type of ad campaign.  The traffic from your website comes from three different sources:  direct traffic, referrals from other sites, and search engines.  So much attention is focused on referral traffic and even search engine traffic, but you should pay special attention to your direct traffic too.  These are people who have seen your URL somewhere and have gone specifically to the address bar and typed it in. This can be directly related to your print media campaigns  because how else would they know your domain?  Additionally, in the search engine traffic section, pay attention to the amount of people who are finding you by searching your business name. It’s likely they saw your business name via a recent marketing campaign and are searching for your business online.  Just because you don’t see the direct referral click from a media’s website, doesn’t NOT mean that they are not generating traffic to you.

These are not fail safe methods.  Just additional ways you can keep an eye on your marketing.
Yes, print is expensive.  So are diamonds, but you don’t hear people saying they aren’t worth it.   Companies that want to attract high end clients, invest money in high end advertising.  You can view Bulgari Jewerly online, but you better believe, when you walk into Bulgari at Lenox Mall they hand you a glossy, perfect bound full color catalog of their most exquisite pieces so you can take home and fester on a potential purchase.  They do it for a reason.