5 Ways To Determine The Efficiency Of Your Advertising Channels

Natalya Chumak
08.02.20163,907 views Write the first comment

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”, – John Wanamaker, the “pioneer in marketing”.

About a hundred years have passed since this citation was uttered, and now there are several ways to get a clear image of your advertising campaign.

Way #1. Ask your clients: ”Where did you hear about us?”

One of the most widespread ways, especially used by young companies on the first stages of their development. It can also be useful for those who spend significant sums on outdoor advertising, TV, radio, etc.

Here is the algorithm of this method:

  1. You understand that it’s vital to determine the effectiveness of your advertising channels in order to allocate the budget on advertising properly, but you have a lot of phone calls that are impossible to track for now. Someone suggests to ask the clients about the ads led them to call you. An interesting idea, let’s try.
  2. You make a list of all your advertising channels. These can be organic search, paid ads, Yandex Direct, Google Adwords, and of course, the good old billboards, advertising on TV, radio broadcasting.
  3. You chose several “victims” between call agents and oblige them to ask the clients where they heard about your company.
  4. Your call agents are likely to be good workers, but they’ve got a lot of things to do apart from this new task, so they’re not motivated. As the result, they can forget about this and specify the advertising channel randomly. This gives incorrect statistics.
  5. Most of the clients don’t know what paid ads or organic search are, so they can’t answer correctly. And of course, you can receive a lot of answers like “I used Yandex search” or even “I found you on the Internet”.
  6. With high probability you become disappointed in this method and start thinking about another one.

So, let’s sum up: the only advantage of this method is its low cost; the disadvantages are its inaccuracy and inefficiency. It’s impossible to make an effective management solution basing on this data.

Way #2. Using web analytics data

This method is quite controversial, but more precise than the previous one. It will work if there’s an online application form on the website.

The algorithm is the following:

  1. You distract from offline advertising sources and focus only on online sources.
  2. We can easily find out which sources of traffic lead the people placing orders.
  3. For example, you received 100 orders in one month. 40 orders came from paid advertising, and 60 were the result of organic search.
  4. Now let’s make a suggestion that this ratio 3:2 is also true for the offline channels.
  5. By subtracting from the total number of orders those coming via the online form and using the proportion you’ll see the effectiveness of offline channels.


The advantage of this method is its cost. It’s free and you just need to have access to site statistics. As for the disadvantages, this method is quite inaccurate. For example, your advertising campaign can generate many calls and just a few orders via online forms. And of course, you can’t use it if you have only offline advertising.

Way #3. Tracking with promo codes

This way can mostly be used by online stores. You place a unique code near each item or service on the site. This code will change depending on the advertising channel. For example, visitors from social networks and from context ads will see different codes. Moreover, the code can change not only depending on a traffic source, but also on a keyword. You just have to ask the client to tell you this code and write it down to the analytics system.

Promo code


The advantages of this method: It’s quite simple and quickly to implement promo codes into the site, moreover, it doesn’t require a lot of money. You can track not only advertising channels, but also the keywords depending on the settings.

The disadvantages are: The procedure takes some time and clients can become irritated. There’s also a possibility that users will make an error while dictating code, and call agents will do the same while writing this code down. Furthermore, in order to motivate clients you can promise them a discount in exchange for a promo code, and the method can become quite expensive. And the most obvious one: The method doesn’t work with offline advertising.

Way #4. Asking client’s ID

This method is similar to the previous one. The difference is in giving a unique ID number to each user. How does it work?

  1. You use UTM tags in order to determine the source or the campaign led the users to your site. UTM tag is an identifier added to the end of the link which helps analytical systems determine parameters like source of the visit, type of the advertising campaign, the keywords.
  2. As an example, a user goes to your site from contextual advertising.
  3. The data about this user goes to Google Analytics or another analytics system with the help of UTM tags.
  4. Now Google Analytics knows the source of the visit – contextual advertising. After that Google Analytics assigns a unique number to this user.
  5. You receive a useful data about all website visitors from Google Analytics.

If you don’t use Google Analytics, you can stop at the second item of this list and just ask your clients to tell you their ID. The end of ID will show you the source of their visit.

The advantages are the simplicity and speed of its implementation. The disadvantages are the following: Some users don’t understand what their ID is and where the have to look for it. ID numbers are long, so the mistakes while dictating them are possible. Also the ID is given not to the particular visitor, but to his browser. If the same person will visit your site using another device, the ID will change and Google Analytics data will be spoiled.

Way #5. The last but not the least: call tracking

The most precise way of getting detailed information about your client.

Call tracking is a tool determining the source of the phone call from online or offline advertising. The most used kinds of this technology are:

  • classic call tracking;
  • dynamic call tracking.


Dynamic call tracking is the most effective. It’s a kind of tracking showing a unique number to every visitor of the site. This method allows to associate the call with a specific visit, and this gives a lot of important information about the caller:

  • source, channel, campaign, keyword;
  • visitor’s behavior: pages viewed, associated conversions;
  • device, browser, area, IP-address, operating system.

The objective of this method isn’t only determining the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, but also optimisation of advertising budget, getting control over the managers, reducing the cost of attracting customers, and increased income as a final result. It works for both online and offline advertising.

The advantages of this method: call tracking is the most precise of all the methods mentioned above. With this service you also receive a cloud PBX, mini CRM system, callback service.

The disadvantage: Call tracking services aren’t free. Moreover, There’re several objections against call tracking implementation. The first one is the insignificant number of calls in a total sum of conversions. If less than 20% of your sales are made via phone, call tracking won’t give a full image of your advertising campaign. The second objection concerns the view of the phone numbers. If you provide express services such as taxi service or food delivery, a beautiful phone number isn’t only a part, but a vital component of your brand. In this case implementation of call tracking will become a harmful strike for you and your clients.


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