Traditional versus digital. Depending on whom you ask, some will say that digital marketing is the way to go. Others will challenge this statement and argue that traditional advertising is still hot and draws in customers. Who is right? And if traditional does work, how to do you measure the success in a highly digital world?
The truth is, digital and traditional can work together. Traditional efforts often drive users to search engines, websites and social media platforms. If you own the SERP for your brand, you’ll be able to control what the user sees as they respond to your traditional media campaigns.
Traditional Is Still a Driver of Consumer Actions
On an average day, at least 40% of individuals age 13 and older use a television, smart phone or computer with another media platform, according to the Council for Research Excellence. The statistic isn’t surprising when you think about the average family watching television. It’s not uncommon to see them in front of the TV also on the tablets and on their smart phones. According to the Council for Research Excellence, attention to advertising ad recall are comparable among users using smartphones, computers and tablets; yet, the highest advertising ad recall occurs with those watching television.
Peter Fondulas, Principal at Hub Entertainment Research, was quoted in a Council of Research Excellence press release as saying, “the fact that viewers were equally engaged program content, regardless of screen, suggest that there’s nothing inherently device itself that makes them less likely to pay attention to ads. The more likely culprit for the lower at engagement on smaller screens is an ad delivery approach that doesn’t align well with the expectations, interviewing situations, as consumers watching on mobile devices.” That doesn’t mean digital isn’t powerful, it simply means we can’t discount the significance of traditional and it means we have to measure.
Traditional is not just about television, though. As seen in the chart below, advertising dollars are still being spent on radio, magazines, newspapers and out-of-home advertising.
One of the main reasons that marketers and businesses still use traditional media has to do with longevity. Consumers still do it all the time—they see magazine and newspaper ads, view billboards, watch commercials on television and listen to sponsored spots on radio. This is especially true when it comes to a local market. Traditional marketing has its benefits, including the wide reach. Without having the right tracking in place,, there will be difficulties with constant measuring, meaning the results won’t be easily measured.
Better Track Your Traditional Media
The following steps can be taken to better understand how traditional marketing impacts digital. They are organized from easiest to hardest.
1. Branded Search Traffic
Even if a consumer hears or sees a URL in an advertisement, they are still likely to organically search for the company. That news is not revolutionary, as most search marketers are well aware of the connection. Somehow it is not always used to determine the success of a traditional campaign. If a radio ad is running, one such measure to determine its traction is through an increase in traffic coming from those branded searches, which can easily be seen in Analytics. Someone, whether that is a person from the search team or the traditional team, has to be keeping an eye on these spikes.
If there are both traditional and search campaigns going at the same time, the two teams need to meet—even if they are from different agencies or the media outlet itself. An older, but still relevant, article by Jim Knapp, VP of Business Development with Bonneville Phoenix, sheds light on this collaboration from a traditional media perspective.
2. Customized URLs
Another simple way to measure traditional media efforts using digital is a customized URL. This one is not hard and it doesn’t take long to set up. Use an-easy-to-remember URL and make sure it is being tracked.
3. Call Tracking
According to Joe Whyte, an expert in “tra-digital” advertising, if we are able to track a large number of conversions, we will then be able to attribute value to each channel, which means tracking and optimizing traditional media through digital methods. Call tracking is an easy way to track traditional media campaigns to determine the ROI. Tracking numbers can be used in outdoor advertising, television, radio ads, print media and direct mail.
4. Data Correlation
Advanced marketers can go even further by leveraging Google AdWords with traditional media. This requires some skills in Excel and a bit of coding for it to work. Whyte uses a Google script in a target AdWords account. The purpose of the script is to automatically increase bids for targeted search terms that align with television and radio run times. This extra step leads to more search impression share and lead volume during the run times.
Whether Traditional or Digital, Tracking is King
Traditional media still has its benefits and can drive local traffic. By setting up the correct tracking mechanisms, you will be able to attribute the success of each channel and continuously optimize and improve.
Mindy Weinstein is the founder and president of Market MindShift, as well as a national speaker, trainer and digital marketing strategist. She teaches part-time at Grand Canyon University and has been a search geek since 2007.