When you’re running newspaper ads, there is often a question of which design to use and which of your various ad-design options will render the best results. Should you feature a smiling child or an elderly couple? Would red or blue work better? Would a slight change in your title or your call to action get better results? In the past, you could try alternating methods and counting up leads, but there’s a better way.
When you want to A/B test newspaper ads, the single best way to get the data you seek is by pairing those ads with your website. You are likely using your website as a landing and conversion tool already, sending newspaper readers to the website to sign up or shop. But did you know that your website is also uniquely prepared to tell you exactly which newspaper ad design to use to bring different types of leads to your digital doorstep?
AB testing from news print to web analytics
Websites have become incredibly data-driven in the last decade, especially in the last five years. Website owners often want to know exactly where leads come from; for example, did the business gain interest through social media, a search engine, or an email? But the same techniques used to A/B test these ad methods can also be applied to print media.
A unique detail on each newspaper ad allows you to use your website to determine which ad wins the most leads and track the results of each set of earned leads. Let’s dive into three different ways to put this testing trick to use.
1) Unique coupon codes
Coupon codes are used when an online shopper checks out, but they can receive these coupon codes from many different ad vectors. If a newspaper reader is interested and signs up online to shop, the coupon code they enter at checkout can tell you exactly which ad they initially responded to.
For example, you might have one fall sale ad with pumpkins and one with autumn leaves as your primary graphic. Your coupon codes might then be pumpkin25 and autumn25. Those that enter ‘pumpkin25’ at checkout are clearly responding to the first ad while those who enter ‘autumn25’ are responding to the second ad.
2) Ad-Specific UTM links
Often, newspaper ads give readers an online web address to visit to access the store, sale page, or specific discount. But you don’t have to print the same web address in every ad. Instead, you can use UTM links. These are special URLs you’ve created that are unique to each ad. When someone types in the UTM link, they may find themselves at the same store page, but your site will be aware of the UTM link used and, therefore, which ad won the lead.
Leads who log in with a UTM link specific to an ad can then be tracked and their conversion data collected in addition to raw A/B testing.
Continuing our example, you might have the first ad have a link like www.mystore.com/fallsale/pumpkin while the other goes to www.mystore.com/fallsale/autumnleaf. Both go to the same page, but you get the A/B conversion data.
3) QR code comparison
If you want to let your leads skip the part where they type in a website URL, you can give them a QR code to scan. QR codes are those barcode squares that can be scanned by a phone which then opens a link or triggers a response. In this case, the link would actually be your UTM link URL, only it opens automatically for the leads instead of being typed in manually.
In this way, you can use ad-specific URL codes to track who finds their way to your landing page based on one newspaper ad design or the other. So both your pumpkin ad and your autumn leaf ad will feature QR codes that the readers could not tell apart, but will take them to different tracked URLs via UTM links. And from there, sessions can be tracked and useful lead-conversion data can be collected.
Traditional media like newspapers and new digital media are both great ways to market, but they are stronger together than separate. Traditional media adds immersion and legitimacy to a product by bringing it into the real world, while digital media has all the tools to gather data and reach out to leads who don’t happen to cross your traditional media in the real world. To learn more about how AdCellerant can help your business increase their digital presence, request a demo today.