We know that measurement is essential for marketers to get the most out of their campaigns today, Fortunately, attribution technology allows us to measure ROI across online channels in great detail. But what about offline efforts? Can marketers measure the success of an offline program with a similar level of granularity? Absolutely. And search can help marketers do just that.
Search has the power to provide marketers with important insights that can help them gauge the performance of their offline marketing efforts. By correlating search data with an offline initiative, a marketer can quickly gather tangible data to measure the effectiveness of the offline campaign. For instance, a marketer can leverage search to assess the performance of a print initiative. By looking at search impressions, she could determine the interest or demand her print campaign created. Or by examining CTR, she could deduce how well her creative resonated with her audience (assuming her search ads incorporated elements of her print creative). In other words, by analyzing search data—from impression volume, types of search queries, CTR, and conversion rates—a marketer can make nuanced assessments about the effectiveness of offline marketing campaigns.
But is it really necessary to correlate data from your search efforts with your offline campaigns? Only if you want to want to reduce the risk of misallocating—and wasting—portions of your marketing budget. For example, let’s say a marketer invested in a radio effort. However, when they assessed the performance of the initiative, they did not tie in their search data. Consequently, the offline effort appeared to be a failure as it did not drive a sufficient amount of phone conversions. As a result, the marketer would most likely stop investing in it. However, if they had included search data in their assessment, they would’ve realized that the offline effort was actually driving 25% of their online conversions.
Here are some tips to fully capitalize on the power of search to measure the performance of your offline initiatives.
Start the conversation and share data. Coordinate regular meetings with all of your marketing teams to discuss upcoming campaigns and creative. During these meetings, share budgets and differences in investment on a weekly basis. From these discussions, each team can coordinate messaging and tactics in their channel as appropriate. For example, if a new prime-time TV spot is airing, the search team will likely want to increase budget to capture the rise in search queries the commercial will generate. The search team may even write custom ads to coordinate messaging with the commercial and enhance user engagement.
Examine and discuss the results. Once the campaigns have launched, be sure the marketing teams discuss the results. What happened? Did search see more clicks and conversions during and after the commercial? What messaging worked and what didn’t? What could you do better next time? Is the data telling you there should there be a next time?
Create controlled tests to measure with search. Leverage your learnings to create controlled tests while planning the marketing mix. Coordinate search messaging and budgets with the launch of new offline campaigns. Develop geo-targeted search campaigns to measure regional marketing efforts, such as conferences or special events.
Leverage search to measure the effectiveness of your tests. Examine your search data for trends that could reveal important insights. For instance, are you seeing an increase in searches for your brand? If so, it could very well indicate that your offline marketing efforts are resonating with your customers. Or are you seeing a rise in new, related queries after the launch of a new product? Be sure to monitor search query volume (both desktop and mobile) as a measure of the awareness your offline campaigns are generating. Also, examine whether your search campaigns are reporting an increase in direct response metrics. Have lead generation and sales increased?
Allocate budgets between offline channels more effectively. Armed with robust search data that is strongly correlated with your other marketing efforts, you can adjust your offline marketing budgets more effectively. Plan your marketing mix to invest in your most efficient offline channels.
While technology is evolving to measure all the ways customers experience a brand, smart marketers will turn to search as a tool to assess the performance of their offline efforts. Doing so will allow them to invest in the most optimal overall marketing mix.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.