Tying Offline and Online Together at Analytics Training Camp

I first wrote this post for the Media Two blog Media Two Point {oh!}. They’ve been awesome enough to let me repost it here.

Jim Hazen is the Analytics Director for Capstrat, and emcee for today’s Triangle AMA Analytics Training Camp. You can follow him on Twitter @hazenj.  

Tying the offline and online worlds together

This presentation isn’t really about analysis, but about connecting online and offline so you can do analysis.  

Jim Hazen at Triangle AMA Analytics Training Camp
2 issues:

1. You’ve created a print ad, but don’t know where to go from there.

2. Web influenced conversion. Consider this when you’re measuring your offline campaigns.  

Why do we need to do this?

  • Take out the guesswork of impact
  • Optimize across all tactics
  • Attempt to put tactics on level playing field
  • Segment these visitor and understand what interests them
  • Understand differences between other marketing channels

The old way is to track things in offline world – surveys, guessing, isolations, unique numbers. Why use web analytics to track offline? The web acts as a proxy. People use the web to research products and services. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to get the data online.  

What are some ways to track offline tactics online?

Vanity URLs are your friend, when they redirect to somewhere else and have tracking code in them. Then you can know which print ad people came from. The problem with this is that people just search a lot of times. Look in web analytics to see if there are any changes in keywords. Look at timing to see if there was an impact.  

Another great way is isolation, like looking at analytics for a specific city to measure the impact of print ads.  

Coupon codes, rebates, and codes to unlock content can tell marketers that you saw their marketing.  Loyalty programs can give marketers info on what consumers are buying.  

Change in visits to your site from organic search is an indicator of the impact of print ads. More people found out about you.  

Look for shifts in the kinds of traffic coming to your site. Look at keyword correlations and relate them to print or TV ads.  

Some tools will let you see the share of traffic you have among your competitors.  

Look for changes in visitor behavior on your site – product level detail, internal search, new visitors, changes in conversion based on timing.  

Ask visitors how they got to your site – TV ad, radio ad, search engine, word of mouth, etc. Take this with a grain of salt, as there is a bias.  

QR codes are the future. Consumers can scan them on print ads with their smartphones to get to your site. You can embed tracking codes in them to tell you which ads are being scanned – which ad, which bus station, etc.  

Location-based services can make a difference. If you give people reasons to check in while they’re in your store, you can track which ads are most effective.  

What are ways to track online efforts offline?

Problem: People are using the web, but conversions happen offline.  

Use dynamic phone numbers on the site that reference the URL that brought viewers there. You can use JavaScript to track which keywords, newsletter, etc. brought people to the site. Now you know which sources of traffic are driving customers.  

On your lead form, set a custom variable for your web analytics. The unique identifier will tell you the behavior of individuals on your site. However, it’s still anonymous for the visitor. The common identifier (primary key) allows you to link the two data sources together.  

Instant chat has a unique identifier that passes off to the person you’re talking to in the backend.  

Online forms, mobile codes, or rebates that have to be printed (bar code) can help you correllate your online activities to an offline sale.  

Correlate online activites to end results. Link between people searching in a particular city and sales in that city.  

Geographic isolation can be used in paid search ads to see what kind of lift in sales they have. Be sure to use controls and testing.  


  • Don’t get laxy, measure your offline just like you would online campaigns.
  • It’s important to understand all your tactics (online or offline) in order to optimize.
  • Segment, segment, segment.
  • Find those common linkage points.
  • Don’t worry about absolutes, you are looking for directionally correct correlations.