Being a marketer, you folks must have faced one question from the client, why should he invest in digital media when it’s not giving desired results as compared to print ad? And you must have thought if we can track print ads in web analytics.

Yes, it is possible and we can do it.

Why is it so important??

In marketing we know the importance of every single penny we spend on advertising and the revenue generated from it, whether it’s print or digital media.

We often underestimate the role of print media in advertising but still this channel is worth understanding. A research suggests that print ads are more likely to engage audience and prompt them to take action than digital.

Print media gets more weightage while evaluating performance.

Viewer’s Response after seeing Print Ad

It was noted that after seeing a print ad, viewers usually visits the respective website. Post this action, the traffic gets classified under direct source in Google analytics. And the traffic is classified as organic when they perform Google search for the brand and click on one of its pages.

We know both metrics are wrong and print ad doesn’t get credit for delivering traffic to the website.

Let’s try the following process to track Print Ads

  1. Create Vanity URL

Vanity URLs are unique, short and simple URLs that demonstrate the brand or ad campaign. Most print ads include a domain name/url in the print ads that is the vanity url and if you want to know whether website visitors have seen your ad, you need a vanity URL.

For example if the Amplifium, a Bangalore based marketing technology and automation consulting agency runs a print ad in Digit, the vanity URL can be “www.amplifium.com/digit”

  1. Add UTM parameters to the landing page URL for the ad

You can use the Google url builder to create the tracking URL for the ad.  So after applying UTM tag, url will be www.amplifium.com/?utm_source=digit&utm_medium=print&utm_campaign=promo

  1. Redirect the vanity URL to a URL with custom UTM parameters

Redirect url to send traffic from your vanity URL to the tracking URL.

For eg:  www.amplifium.com/digit would be redirect to www.amplifium.com/?utm_source=digit&utm_medium=print&utm_campaign=promo

  1. Check real-time reports in Google Analytics

After the redirection, paste vanity url into the browser and check it in Google Analytics real time report to know if redirection is working fine by selecting source.

By implementing print ad tracking we can reduce the amount of traffic that wrongly gets classified as Direct or Organic search and we can gain important insight about how your print ad campaigns are working.

Author Kuldeep Shaktawat

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