How to Track if Your Billboard is Effective

March 15, 2011

Posted in Marketing and Technology.

This year, Camp Tannadoonah stepped up the marketing work. Not only are we using new tactics (billboards, for instance), we are being smarter about measuring them. These things aren’t cheap, and we want to make sure they’re working before we use them again.


One way we’re measuring is by using unique web URLs on the different campaigns. Billboards have one, our yard signs another, and our postcards have a third. Each takes the person to the same place – a landing p to introduce the camp and provide key information.

Setting up the tracking URL

To track these users, we bought a few domain names that simply redirect to a certain URL. That URL includes information about the campaign (billboard or postcard). I used Google’s URL builder to create the correct address.

Tool_ URL Builder - Analytics Help.jpg

I always struggle with what to fill in these fields. I don’t have a ton of marketing campaigns to track, so I usually focus more on clearly separating them from what few campaigns I am tracking. We use Campaign Monitor for email marketing and it automatically tracks campaigns in here, too.

Viewing Campaign progress

In Google Analytics the info from that URL gets included in the visitor’s session. Under the Traffic Sources tab you can see Campaigns, and view key information about how those users are interacting with your site.

Campaign_ - Google Analytics.jpg

For the analytics ninjas out there, you can take it a step further and set up an advanced segment just for the campaign you’re looking at. I did this and can see which pages they’re looking at and where they’re going. Most importantly, I can see if they’re continuing on to register for camp – which means I can clearly measure our success.

From this relatively simple step (cost: $8 for a domain name to redirect from) I can tell two key things: are the billboards referring visitors and are they signing up? Just a couple of new signups would pay for the entire campaign – which would make it worthwhile. But if it falls short, we’ll drop it and spend our money elsewhere.

Marketing is an experiment – make you learn something.

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