News & Insights

Are offline campaigns effective at driving online action?

25 January 2022

Sarah Burns, Join the Dots Head of Media Solutions examines the role print campaigns can play in generating online revenue for brands and non-profits.

Are offline campaigns effective at driving online action?

With the accuracy of last-click attribution for digital campaigns still being challenged, it doesn’t come as a surprise to us when we hear brands questioning the use of print media to drive an online action. Add to this the suggestion of using print to drive the ‘grey’ market online and you will find yourself laughed out of the (virtual) room.

However, at Join the Dots, our analysis of the data shows this is not the case. Not only does print media drive online activity, but it can also direct the ‘grey’ market online, too.

Through offline attribution, we have been able to show how Direct Mail (DM), Door Drops (DD) and Partially Addressed Mail all successfully drive an online action.

What is offline attribution?

Put simply, offline attribution allows us to connect revenue back to offline campaigns and prove which activities drove sales or donations.

How can offline attribution be used to measure the impact of print campaigns?

At Join the Dots, there are two primary techniques we employ.

  • Code tracking: By applying a code to every segment and variable of each letterbox mailing, we are able to track responses via business reply envelopes; the coded item being taken in store, redeemed online or via a call centre. This method isn’t perfect, as many will not redeem a code, particularly if it doesn’t gain additional benefit, i.e., a discount; however, it is an effective technique for measuring the general impact of a campaign or an audience’s receptivity to different types of offer.
  • Address Level Matchback: The optimal result of letterbox campaign analysis is the ability to match the mailing files (postal sectors for DD, street address for PAM, or full address and name for DM) to the sales or donor file held by the client. We can then directly attribute a responder to a mailing irrelevant of how they responded, whilst acknowledging the roll other channels also play in the response journey.

Do only younger generations complete transactions online?

Whilst Z’s and Millennials are more likely to prefer digital platforms and have been a key driver in the rise of QR codes and one-touch payments, older age groups are increasingly completing their purchases and donations via the internet.

Join the Dot’s Christmas campaign for a major national animal charity attributed 27% of all donations to digital channels, with the largest contingent of contributors coming from ‘Dorothy Donors’. The segment of ‘over 65’s’ was recognised for their advocacy and support for charitable causes.

Industry Evidence

Supporting Join the Dots findings, industry body JICMail has compiled substantial evidence establishing that campaign targets go online after receiving mail. From Q4 2019 to Q4 2020, there has been an increase in mail (DD and DM) driving online action by 47% across all mail items tracked by the JICMail panel.

So, next time you need to drive a prospect online, whether to donate, request more information or to buy a product, why not consider print marketing? With precision targeting and unrivalled attribution, it could be the most effective channel within your marketing mix.

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