I’ve written before about tying online and offline campaigns together. I figured it was time to give an updated post on that subject.
A few weeks back I sat down with Dave Oldham, CEO of O-CODES. Dave and I have both worked at companies that built software products for newspapers to track their display and classified ads. We experienced firsthand the frustration advertisers can have: They know offline advertising works, but they wish they could track the effectiveness the same way they can with online advertising.
Dave’s company is doing more to bridge the online-offline ad-tracking gap than any company I know. In the entrepreneurial world, we call this “disruptive technology.”
Simply put, o-codes are a way of attaching a trackable online component to an offline ad. Media companies can use o-codes to upsell their advertisers. So an advertiser running a TV ad, radio ad, magazine ad or billboard sign can add a number that viewers/listeners can text for a discount. It is kind of like a digital coupon. The advertisers can also choose to use QR codes in lieu of text numbers.
Even though advertisers still won’t know exactly how many purchases came as a result of the ads they ran (not all viewers that text the code will buy, and not all that see the ad and buy will text for the discount), they can take an instant pulse of whether that medium is the one they should be using for their ads. So if they are running the same ad on five different cable channels, they’ll know they can consolidate to a single channel if they find a much higher percentage of viewers texting the code from that channel instead of the others.
With traditional media companies feeling like they are constantly fighting against online media for ad dollars, this is one way they can use online technology to enhance the value that their bread-and-butter offline products are providing.