Doing Away With “Mention This Ad”: The Alternatives to Tracking ROI

mention-this-adFor years, a local car dealer has ran an ad campaign with an incentive of $500 cash back if the customer does one thing: mention the ad. He prepares all of his salespeople to ask about how the customers have heard about the business, and he even provided little surveys the customer would fill out that had options of where they saw the advertisement – radio, TV, newspaper, billboard, Google, referral, etc.

However, it suddenly became clear that there was a major problem. For one, the business didn’t run advertisements on Google and their TV ad hadn’t been seen in years. Yet the customers still checked off those boxes creating a joke among the staff and a messy, confusing way of measuring advertising ROI.

This story isn’t all that uncommon either. The idea of the “mention the ad” incentive has long been used by businesses both big and small. Luckily, many marketers are starting to wise up and get away from relying on customers to track their advertising and finding better, more reliable ways to track and analyze the success of their efforts.  

Where “Mentioning This Ad” Fails

In the case of the car dealer, despite being used for years, they had to learn the hard way why mentioning the ad doesn’t work. Most importantly, it’s simply not an effective means of tracking. An average person is exposed to around 360 advertisements per day and only 150-155 are even noticed. Customers should be excused if they forget.

Even more so, those 360 advertisements are not just from one marketing platform. They take into account passing a billboard on the highway, seeing a banner advertisement on a website, or hearing a customer testimony on the radio. And even after being exposed to numerous methods of advertising, consumers will only remember the most recent touchpoint.

Not a True Call-To-Action

In addition, asking a potential consumer to “mention this ad when you come in” isn’t a true call-to-action. This is because there is no incentive for the customer. And if there is no promotion, there is absolutely no reason why they should remember it. When was the last time you told someone you saw their ad without having a clear reason to?   

Instead, there needs to be a specific call-to-action measured by detailed tracking. For example, businesses looking for prospects to “Call Us Today!” can use a phone tracking service to link a specific phone number to a radio advertisement and a different one for a website. The same kind of call-to-action can be used for websites by creating specific landing pages or URLs. These can be tracked separately as well offering the advertising information about consumer demographics, behaviors, and locations that can help to better measure advertising ROI.

There are a number of different ways to track your advertising but it’s all going to depend on your medium. Your digital marketing efforts more than likely offer the most analytic information about who your customers are and how they are engaging online, where radio, print and TV may require a little more effort. A great, and simple method of tracking these efforts is by varying your calls-to-action. For example, in you radio ad you can direct listeners to “Call John now for details!” while maybe your print or TV ads direct viewers to “Call Lisa now for details!” John and Lisa don’t exist, but when your team members pick up they know where those leads came from and simply reply with “John/Lisa isn’t in right now, but how can I help?”

However, relying on tracking may not be effective. Instead of going directly to a landing page or calling the specific number in your call-to-action, the potential customer may instead only remember your business’ name and need to search for the business online; therefore making it the new “place” they found out about you. In this case, the best way to track the success of your advertisements is to look at the bottom line. A great marketing campaign will see a rise in your sales, profits, walk-ins, or phone calls. Keeping track of these and measuring the results against the date and timing of your marketing campaign may be the best way to determine the ROI of your advertising.

Doing Away With Depending on Customers for Tracking ROI

The most important takeaway is that marketing is tough to measure and analyze. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that your advertising isn’t working or engaging. With so many different variables affecting consumer’s buying decisions, it is critical to have a plan in place, know the best ways to track your advertising and be able compare your performance over time.


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