We’ve previously established that print advertising isn’t dead, but one thing that marketers have a hard time establishing for print advertising is ROI. The shift to digital has really shaped the marketing industry in that marketers can now measure the effectiveness of their strategies. With digital insights telling advertisers exactly who, when, where, and how people are seeing their online ads, It has gotten very difficult to justify print advertising. These days the goal of print ads is to pique the interest of customers and bring them to a website. That being said, there are some methods to digitally measure the effectiveness of print advertising and we’ve outlined them below:

Offer a Unique Point of Contact

Many times advertisements have some kind of contact information, whether it’s a phone number or email address. If you are having customers contact you, have them reach out to a specific contact that is unique to your print campaign. For example, our “Plain Dealer Works – Let’s Talk About It” campaign in the newspaper had a unique email address for that campaign – PDWorks@advance-ohio.com. That way, the sales team knew that leads coming in through that email address came specifically from the print campaign.

Use Coupon Codes

If you’re providing some kind of offer to customers within your print ad, create a unique print coupon code that you offer your potential customers. When customers use the code in store, you can track that they’ve gotten it from a print advertisement. By using different coupon codes in ads, you can get an idea of what was acted upon. You won’t be able to track impressions, but you can track action on the ads, which is also an important measurement.

Ask Your Customers

If customers found you on print and then followed up on your website, you can find out by having them fill out a lead form that asks how they found you. It may be difficult to get people to fill these out, but you can offer them some free content for filling out the form to better your odds.

Vanity URLs and UTM Tracking Codes

One of the best ways to track print advertising is by placing a unique URL within the ad that leads customers to a specific landing page just used for that purpose. How do you do this? Create a landing page that is directed to whatever print campaign that you’ve created, and then apply UTM parameters to the URL to track the sources. UTM parameters are tracking codes that are added to a URL that allows you to customize tracking sources down to the nitty gritty campaigns that you’ve built. Once a UTM code is built into the URL, you can then go into Google Analytics and see how many people have acted on the link that came from the print ad. Print advertising isn’t the only way you can use this strategy – you can add UTM tracking to business cards, fliers, billboards, and banners at trade shows.

By implementing print ad tracking, your Google Analytics will be able to better organize your traffic into categories so you can get a better idea of where people are finding your ads.