It started with a tweet:

If traditional media is “dead”, then why are the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook still using it?
Asking for a friend.

A question formed from observing the countless ads on TV, media and in papers over the last few months.

I love digital marketing. It has enabled us to target and understand our market faster.

Yet, it seems that we have built a belief that anything other than paid ads on Facebook and Google, is outdated.

What’s even more interesting, is how Facebook, in particular, has used traditional media as part of their campaign to rebuild their reputation following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Encouraging users to continue to use their platform.

Oh, the irony.  

Putting to one side whether people still ‘trust’ Facebook (that’s a blog for another time), it’s interesting that companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are using the media which is supposed to be ‘dead’.

Resurgence in traditional media

Moreover, Twitter is now fascinated with outdoor billboards. From the BBC for Dracula, or Led By Donkeys who use tweets from politicians. There is life in the old dog.

IAB has demonstrated a resurgence in some media – a 5% increase in radio and a 5.7% increase in OOH.

Image from IAB showing changes in media spend.
Source: IAB

The Drum, reported radio spending was up 12.5%, out-of-home advertising was up 5.3% and TV experienced 5% growth for the 19th consecutive quarter.

Digital remains the biggest expense. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon. But, consider this: 

True. But, online inventory is becoming highly competitive and the price is increasing. Lots of noise makes it difficult to stand out. Other mediums are having to drop their prices to compete. There are pros and cons for all. It’s about not putting all our eggs in one basket.

While it’s never a single entity, GDPR and the PECR regs have made digital marketing more challenging.

Individuals being able to opt out means our tracking cookies and systems become redundant. They put us in the same position as traditional media – lack of hard data.

It’s all about the data

One of the main benefits of digital media is how easy it is for us to report and optimise. We know the ROI to the penny. We have the numbers to prove the expense.

And I think this has helped to create one of the biggest silos in marketing – The Digital Silo.

Digital is EVERYTHING.

Well, according to LinkedIn.

The noise has succeeded in convincing many that it’s the ONLY way.

Setting-up tracking on offline media

For us to even consider trying other media, we must be able to prove the investment. Traditional media, by nature, presents a challenge.


We can. Through digital. That’s the beauty.

It’s a tool. A powerful one.

We can merge offline and online to create integrated campaigns.

Here’s how:

Create a tracking URL

When a URL is included in digital media, we can easily link the relevant text and track it by building a link with Google’s UTM parameters.

These metrics can be picked up in Google Analytics (GA). We can measure the performance of the media.

For campaigns running offline, it’s possible to implement the same system. Using the Campaign URL builder, you can use the Campaign Source and Campaign Medium to identify the specific outlet.

The generated URL isn’t exactly user friendly.  Use a vanity URL to transform this cumbersome web address into something short and memorable.  Many Content Management Systems (CMS) have their own set-up, or you can use plugins or third-party systems such as Rebrandly

Include a tracking phone number

Systems such as Infinity and Mediahawk enable users to create multiple numbers which can be used for different offline mediums. Enabling us to discover which materials are performing and accurately record usage.

Phrase match tracking

Our relationship with search is changing. We type conversational queries or ask Alexa, Google or Siri to search the web for us.  

So, rather than a URL we can use a phrase as a CTA i.e. Search for Degree Apprenticeships at Bantshire University.

Using Phrase match for your Google AdWords, it would be possible to build ads around this term.

You could even vary the CTA phrases for posters, radio, TV and even print literature (i.e. prospectuses and brochures).

Custom Landing Pages

Driving traffic to a website is critical. All campaign material should be targeted at doing so. It’s the next step in the journey.

Rather than a single landing page to drive traffic to, you could set up multiple landing pages and align them to the individual mediums deployed. Use a tracking/vanity URL as the CTA on the creative.

If the pages have data capture, Google Tag Manager can then be implemented to measure conversions. The vanity URL with tracking can be picked up on Google Analytics (GA).

Asking for a reference code

It’s the oldest tactic going.

An incentive to support lead generation. While also providing insight into which mediums have been seen/remembered through a unique code.

An offer, competition or to book onto an Open Day. Collecting this at the point of data capture will provide invaluable insight. 

Monitor the Halo Effect

It’s never one entity. It’s a combination.

A campaign should be designed around the customer (or student) journey.

Paying close attention to the impact of what your offline marketing is having on your online presence is critical. 

Using GA, it would be possible to see the impact on your direct traffic numbers, impressions and click-throughs. Especially on PPC ads.

Using offline media to encourage online activity, will create an integrated campaign impacting all performance metrics.

Search is the second step. Not the first. Something must prompt the search.

Share your thoughts

What offline marketing tracking techniques have you used? Have you used any of the above? Let me know in the comments below, send me a tweet @CJPanteny, or get in touch.

And if you liked this blog, don’t forget to share it on your socials and bask in its ranty goodness.

See you next time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: