With the holiday season upon us, my family and I spend a good deal of time on the road heading out to various parts of the state to see family. Just a few weeks ago, we were headed to rural Minnesota to visit my in-laws.

I always enjoy our trips out of the city. It gives us a chance to relax; and it also gives me a chance to catch up on the latest billboard advertising tactics being used in the small towns we pass through. Towns that don’t have the flashy, digital, or extension capabilities of the metro-area boards.

Something on a board will usually catch my eye and make me pause to think about it. However, it has more to do with having to slow down and go 30 MPH through town rather than the billboard content itself. My favorite recently has been an advertisement by the billboard company itself:

“If you’re reading this, it works!” 

Have you seen this on a billboard before? Thought provoking, right? I mean, if you are reading it, people are seeing it, and you should definitely be advertising on it.

But that’s only part of the equation, yes? We’ve discussed on this blog how billboards are wonderful tools – if used properly with proper goals. Awareness being one of them. But when considering how billboards play into the buyer’s journey, rarely do they lead to a sale or conversion.

Conversions are why we as marketers do what we do. It’s one of the things we get to point to and say “Success!” when a campaign is complete.

How do you make sure you’re tracking conversions to make sure your campaigns are successful? How do you track conversions to make sure you know where your conversions are coming from?

These are important questions to be asking!

Digital advertising – whether it be SEM, social, video, etc. – allows for accurate conversion tracking through pieces of code placed on desired landing pages or call-to-action buttons. Using tracking code is almost an absolute must if you are using digital advertising. It allows you to better understand how successful the advertising and utilization of budget has been.

But there’s more to your marketing mix than paid digital advertising, right? Email, radio, branch merchandise, maybe even television. No successful marketing campaign or brand strategy stands on one channel alone. And given that you want to make sure your budget is allocated appropriately, it’s important to understand the source of sales with all of your marketing efforts.

Here are three things you can do to better track of where conversions are coming from and gain more perspective:

  1. Install Google Search Console and Tag Manager. Working in tandem with one another, Search Console and Tag Manager will give you a more robust analytical view of your web and digital advertising traffic. Search Console adds capabilities such as seeing which search terms presented your website in the results on organic searches. Tag Manager provides you with a one-stop dashboard to look at conversion tracking, remarketing, Google Analytics and more.
  2. Implement Conversion Goals in Google Analytics. Using the Conversion tool in Google Analytics, you are able to track specified conversion behavior on your site. Whether it be by loading a page on the site or engaging with a call-to-action, Analytics will track the conversions. From there, Analytics will also tell you the source of the conversion, allowing you to compare and measure the most effective channel.
  3. Create specific tracking for traditional marketing. As mentioned earlier in this article, a good marketing mix may and should contain traditional marketing channels as well. Understanding how to track conversions from those channels is just as important as from digital marketing. Based on the channel, using tools such as Call Rail for phone tracking and PURLs for web address tracking will create a robust picture of what’s taking place.

Tracking conversions doesn’t have to be complicated, but it is vital to proving marketing success. Especially time of year (read: budgeting), pointing to the role of marketing in the bottom line gives us marketers a leg to stand on in the fight for more marketing dollars.

How do you track conversions right now? What do you need help with? We’d like to know!


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