Tracking Offline Marketing Campaigns With Kissmetrics

Forrester estimates that companies allocate about 30% of their marketing budget to online.

It’s trending upwards, gaining roughly 1% per year.

That’s means that offline marketing spend will continue to outspend online for the next couple decades.

So if you’re like most companies spending the bulk of your marketing budgets on offline marketing campaigns, you’ll need to know how effective your offline efforts are. (That is why you came to this blog post in the first place, after all).

Here’s how you can intelligently set up those offline campaigns and track their returns in Kissmetrics.

Forms of Offline Marketing

Let’s try to name all the offline channels you can throw marketing dollars at.

There’s direct mail, radio, coupons, television, guerilla marketing, business cards, conferences, speaking engagements, sponsorships, and more.

Even if you’re utilizing just one of these channels, you’ll still need to track it just as diligently as your online marketing campaigns. Qualitative feedback is great (“a lot of people said great things about us at the most recent conference we sponsored”) but you’ll also need to measure (“we received 5k visits and 580 signups coming directly from the conference”).

Let’s look at how Kissmetrics can help you in measuring the quantitative data.

From Offline to Online

So, how do we track a potential customer that heard about you from an offline channel and moves from the awareness stage to the interest stage?

Let’s say your company, a chocolate company, just sponsored a big food trade show in Dallas this past January. You’re trying to get more of your product in retail stores around the country. To get the attention of attendees, your company logo was all over, along with a custom site you made just for attendees. This site contains some background on your company, your sourcing, and information for retail buyers.

Your banners across the conference were all pointing to this URL, telling attendees they get a free consultation by going to the site and filling out the information form.

As long as you’ve kept the URL short and easy-to-remember, tracking this shouldn’t be a problem. People type your URL into the address bar, hit enter, and browse, contact you, inquire.

Tracking it is relatively straightforward. Just pull up a funnel report viewing direct visits to see how many of them signed up, contacted you, etc.

But let’s add a wrinkle that makes this a bit more tricky: let’s say you’re offering free box of chocolates if visitors enter a coupon code when submitting an inquiry to talk to one of your salespersons.

What we basically want to know is – of all the people that submit an inquiry with us, how many of them are applying the discount code? How effective is the free chocolate at generating inquiries?

In this case, the funnel is – Visited conference site > Filled out inquiry form (with or without discount code).

With Kissmetrics, you can track when people apply a discount code. Here’s how we’d set it up using Kissmetrics:

Anytime someone visits our site for conferences attendees, an event in Kissmetrics called Visited conference site fires. So our first event in the funnel is for people that visited the conference site:


The second event fires when someone files out an inquiry. We called this event Submitted inquiry. We’ll set that as the 2nd event in the funnel report:


We’ll want to find the people that have and have not submitted the coupon code, so we’ll click the small arrow button and add the property “Coupon Code” with the coupon code being conference100:


We also want to find the people that didn’t enter the coupon code. For that, we’ll click this button:


And we’ll add an Or condition to this step, telling Kissmetrics to also find the people that did not have this coupon applied:


This will make it easy to compare the conversion rates for people that entered the coupon code vs those that didn’t.

So here’s how our funnel set up looks:


Now let’s get our data. Let’s first look at a simple conversion for those that visited the conference site and then submitted the inquiry.


This shows us we got about 2500 visits, and a little more than half of those submitted an inquiry. Now let’s look at how effective that coupon code was getting people to submit an inquiry.


So it looks like the bulk of conversions are coming with the coupon code applied.


Much lower conversions – meaning that the free box of chocolates were enough to get most people to submit an inquiry. We’ll now have to track these further down the funnel to see if they lead to meaningful conversations.

This example can stretch further – if you’re using direct mail, radio, billboards, or any display advertising you can point people to a URL and track the conversions with a coupon code. How many times on radio have you heard “enter coupon code to receive 15% off your first order”? As we’ve seen, using these coupon codes makes it much easier to track the effectiveness of these offline campaigns.

Shortened Domains

You may have a long domain name that can be too difficult to remember, too long to type, or not easy to hear (for those of you that advertise on radio).

For example, there’s a realtor in my area named Kris Lindahl. He frequently advertises on radio. His website,, isn’t easy to remember (it’s a name) and Kris is usually spelled as Chris, which could lead many to type in the wrong URL. So via radio he advertises his url as, which is easier to remember than his actual name. Go to and you’ll be redirected to his officlal website landing page.

That can be a solid approach if your domain name isn’t memorable or very long. It also makes it very easy to track with Kissmetrics. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you’re the Director of Marketing for a company called You are about to begin a radio campaign. The only issue is your domain name. It has a couple problems:

  1. It’s long (who wants to type a domain that long?)
  2. It’s not particularly easy to remember

You know that no matter what you offer, your long domain name is a roadblock for getting people to just visit your site. So you create a workaround by buying a shorter, easier to remember domain name that redirects to your main URL. This is the domain name you’ll advertise on radio.

Tracking your main funnel is pretty standard, but you’ll add a condition to the first step, telling Kissmetrics to only find the people that came from your shortened URL.


You can then fill out the rest of your funnel – viewed product, added product to cart, and purchased. This will give you a focused view on how your radio campaign is performing.

By the way – you can also do this with other domains – you can see how traffic from twitter, facebook, and other referral sites impact signups and conversions.


Tracking offline campaigns can be tricky if people aren’t buying on the spot.

But following the steps they’ll take to purchasing, and tracking each step along the way, will make it much easier.

Questions? Put them in the comments.

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is the Blog Manager for Kissmetrics.

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