Preparing To Measure Your First Offline Campaign
As online platforms like Meta and Google are getting more saturated, brands that were born on the internet are looking into offline channels like TV, Billboards, or Radio to scale.
A report from Thinkbox identified that online companies actually are now the biggest spenders on TV in the UK. Even the big advertising platforms themselves, Google, Amazon, Meta, are all big spenders on TV. If you’re spending millions of dollars online, offline campaigns may actually be more affordable and accessible than you think.
These harder to measure channels require a new approach to marketing attribution, which can be a challenge when you’re accustomed to being able to track and optimize every click. In this post I’ll break down the key steps to help you get the right infrastructure in place to measure your first offline campaign.
The Limitations of Online-Only Methods
Online marketing is unparalleled in its ability to optimize and A/B test the finest detail, but it just doesn’t work to measure offline campaigns. All of your traffic will be bucketed into “direct” or “organic” in your analytics, and you won’t be able to tell how much credit the offline campaign drove. That’s a problem because you won’t be trusted with more budget if you can’t tell how the last money you were given performed.
A lot of the techniques that brands use for measuring offline channels are also helpful for better attributing online sales as well. This is becoming increasingly important since Apple’s iOS14 update and similar developments have limited marketer’s data tracking and targeting capabilities.
Key Steps to Prepare for Your First Offline Campaign
- Implement a checkout surveyAsk the question “how did you hear about us?” at the point of purchase or registration. You can include follow up questions to drill down into specific important attributes about the campaign, for example if they select “TV”, you can then have an optional question where you ask them which show they saw your ad on.Once you have this survey data you can analyze the results to identify patterns and trends, and compare them to what you’re seeing in other channels. For example it can be helpful to connect survey results to Google Analytics data so you can identify where the people who say “TV” actually visited from, giving you an estimate of the halo effect of your campaign on direct or organic traffic.
- Establish a baseline marketing mix model (MMM)Use historical data and advanced analytics techniques to understand the impact of different marketing channels, including both online and offline. Create a baseline model with your existing online marketing efforts as a reference point to measure your offline campaign's incremental impact, so you can forecast what would have happened without TV.Refine your marketing mix over time by comparing the performance of different channels and identifying the most effective strategies, using the models’ results to reallocate budget. This is essential for brands investing across online and offline channels where you need a method that works independently across both.
- Plan your campaign to incorporate geo-region testingRather than running one big national TV buy, plan not to run ads in several locations or regions chosen at random. You can then run a statistical analysis to determine what the true incremental impact of TV is in the regions that were exposed to your ads.There’s no greater standard of proof than a randomized controlled trial, and the evidence of this experiment will be the main way that you prove to leadership that the campaign worked. Following your first geo-region test, it can also help to run scale testing where you increase spend in some regions to determine where the channel starts to get saturated.
Don't Forget the Long-Term Adstock and Brand Effect
When measuring the success of your offline campaign, consider the long-term impact of advertising and the overall brand effect. Offline channels like TV tend to have a longer-lasting impact on performance, both through a delayed response (adstock) between seeing the ad and buying, and due to a greater awareness or familiarity with your brand.
- Assess the adstock effect by monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales, conversions, and customer engagement.
- Use this information to understand how your offline campaign continues to influence consumer actions over an extended period and guide future marketing decisions.
Measure the Brand Effect:
- In addition to immediate impact on sales and conversions, offline campaigns contribute to brand building and recognition.
- Evaluate metrics like brand recall, brand sentiment, and customer perception with panel surveys to understand how your campaign has influenced your brand's overall image.
- Use this data to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to strengthen your brand identity.
Amortize the Cost of Creative Across Other Channels
We’ve so far focused on measuring the impact on sales of offline campaigns, but a key consideration is the cost to run them. Creative production is often several orders of magnitude more expensive when running offline campaigns vs online, so you can bring down the cost or share the burden of generating offline ad creative, that can make a big difference to the return on investment calculation.
Repurposing Creative Assets:
- Adapt images, videos, and messaging from your offline campaign for use in your online display ads, social media posts, and other digital marketing efforts.
- Ensure consistency in your brand identity across different channels to create a unified customer experience.
Allocate Production Costs Strategically:
- Plan your marketing budget by distributing production costs according to the expected returns from each channel.
- Adjust your investments based on the performance of each channel, ensuring an optimal distribution of resources and maximizing the ROI of your offline campaign.
You’ll never be fully ready to take the plunge into offline channels – it’s a different world from digital and you have far less transparency and control. However, by taking these steps and embracing a comprehensive offline attribution approach, you'll be well on your way to gaining valuable insights, optimizing your campaigns, and driving revenue. If nothing else, make sure you plan to run a geo-region test, which is something Measured can help with. The key is making sure you know how you’ll measure your outcomes, before the campaign launches.