FutureTool: Print2Web Tracking measures online response
Berkshire Information Systems (www.berkshire-is.com) has stepped forward with just such an innovation. Print2Web Tracking is designed to measure promotional investment as a campaign unfolds. Results are posted online and can answer questions such as which media send qualified buyers to websites?; what is the cost/visitor?; which ad copy gets the most attention?; etc.
Tom Koperniak, marketing vice president at Berkshire, says that Print2Web fills a need that stems from advertisers’ growing demands to determine ad effectiveness as quickly as possible. “The call for accountability is certainly there,” Koperniak says. Advertisers should welcome any device that gives them a real-time edge.
“Historically,” Koperniak adds, “over the past 25 years we’ve processed reader service sales leads from magazines, so the Print2Web Tracking device is a natural outgrowth of the data gathering that has been at the core of our business.” Berkshire went confidently ahead without a launch client. The device is so new that Koperniak can merely report “interest from a half dozen or so agencies.”
How does Print2Web Tracking work? Imagine you’re in charge of SuperWidget’s print campaign and one of the publications you’ve chosen to advertise in is Gadget Monthly magazine. Readers of that industry organ who are interested in finding out more about the SuperWidget at the company website would type in the URL listed in the print ad. As readers do this, the Print2Web system logs the date, time, IP address, and a tracking code for each visit.
Assuming you are advertising in a number of gadget industry publications, each response is differentiated by a defining URL and suffix specific to an ad. Thus, www.superwidget.com/ 2/gm11 translates to the ad in Gadget Monthly’s 11th issue (November). Berkshire states that “the numeral 2, between the two slashes, which can also be any letter, or combination of letters and numbers, is the name of a script that will reside on the advertiser’s website. The script is written and provided as part of the service and will actually re-direct each web visitor to the Print2Web Tracking site. Once there, it will send the visitor to a specific URL, stored in the system, to get the visitor to the advertised product. The unique tracking ID can be any letter, number, or combination of letters and numbers as well. It only need be a unique suffix for each ad.”
Residing in an Oracle database, the accumulating data can then be analyzed to determine which ads are working and which are not. Data can be easily entered into the database over the Internet. Tabulated data may include media type, media name, campaign name, size of ad, total reach, and cost of ad, as well as other information. Reports may include charts and graphs, which may be downloaded or e-mailed. The entire system is electronically secured, to be accessed by authorized personnel.
Is it prudent to be accumulating responses from unknown sources, who may be motivated to click through to URLs multiple times? Is one click-through per reader all but a given—and is that more desirable than several visits by the same reader? We’ll soon see.