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tracking advertising

A few days ago, I was reminded of the importance of tracking advertising through a story a friend told me.

The story: a company spent $60,000 or so on an advertising campaign, but didn’t implement any means of tracking the results of the ad. Meaning they have spent $60,000 and have no idea if it raised their brand awareness or brought in customers and revenue (I’m not sure which was the aim of their campaign.) So when the radio stations come back and ask if the company wants to repeat the ad, who knows if they should say yes or no…

The moral: tracking advertising is important for a number of reasons:

  • makes it easy to decide on a repeat of the campaign
  • helps you better understand your demographic (e.g. they may listen to the radio but not respond to the type of ad you ran)
  • assess the ROI (return on investment) and value of the campaign – $60,000 is nothing if it results in $500,000 of sales, but it is a ridiculous amount of money if it results in $100 profit
  • tracking and comparing different ads allows you to decide the most effective advertising for your business (e.g. radio vs TV vs major newspapers vs local advertising) PLUS you can tweak the actual ad to find the best presentation, too

Even if your budget is nowhere near $60,000, tracking of advertising is a worthwhile exercise.

Don’t assume that free ads aren’t worth tracking, either. Why?

  • the results from a free ad can be a useful comparison with paid advertising
  • free ads can be a great place to test different wording and formats for your ad before you pay for its placement (assuming a very similar audience of course)
  • if the ad is free in monetary terms but costs a lot of time, tracking will help you determine if you are getting enough reward for your time
  • a free ad may be attracting the wrong people – people who don’t become customers and use up your valuable time. If you know many false leads are coming from a certain ad, stop that ad even if it is free!

Have you used tracking with your advertising? Did you find it a useful activity, even if tedious and time consuming?

 

P.S. You can read more about the basics of tracking your advertising or assessing the results of tracking in my articles.