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Track Your Advertising ROI Using Unique Domains

One of the cool things about advertising online is that it’s easy to track. Using a program like Google Analytics, you can discover if new customers are finding you from Google Adwords, Facebook ads, organic search, or are referred from a different website.
Tracking results from offline advertising (e.g. radio, TV, billboards and flyers) is more difficult. Thankfully, you can still track these ads and their return on investment (ROI) by using unique domain names and domain forwarding.

Below, we explain how to do it in four easy steps.

1. Find Unique Domains

When it comes to advertising on the radio or other “offline” promotions, you need a way to track your leads. Using a unique domain name is a great way to do this.
Let’s say you are a dentist in Austin, Texas. You probably have a domain name that’s descriptive of your business, perhaps with your name or the name of your practice. This is a great domain to host your website and use for links on the web.
Now suppose you are starting a radio advertising campaign on three stations. You know you’ll see an uplift in visits to your website, but how will you know which of these three radio stations is driving the most new customers? Which radio station is hitting your target market?
Using a unique domain name for each radio station is an affordable way to track where your new visitors are coming from.
Here are some examples of unique domains you might use for this campaign:

  • GreatAustinDentist.com
  • AwesomeAustinDentist.com
  • SuperAustinDentist.com

Once your find your unique domains, register them at Namecheap and proceed to the next step.

2. Create Tracking URLs

Next, you need to create a tracking URL (or web address) for each campaign. You will forward your unique domains to these tracking URLs and track them in Google Analytics.
Create these URLs in your Google Analytics account’s Campaign Builder as follows:

  1. Enter your main website domain (not the new unique domain you registered) in the “Website URL” box.
  2. Enter “radio” for “Campaign Source”.
  3. In the “Campaign Name” box, enter the name of the radio station.

For example, let’s say you are going to use GreatAustinDentist.com for the campaign running on a station called Fun 101.1. Here’s what your tracking link will look like:

https://yourcompanydomain.com/?utm_source=radio&utm_campaign=fun101

3. Add Domain Forwarding at Namecheap

The next step is to forward each of your unique domain names to the tracking URL. You can do this for free at Namecheap with a URL redirect.
Namecheap offers easy instructions for forwarding your domain.
So going back to our example, if you are using GreatAustinDentist.com for the Fun 101.1 campaign, you will forward that domain to the tracking link you created for that station.

4. Now You Can Track Each Radio Station

To keep going with our example, when your ad runs on Fun 101.1, use the domain name GreatAustinDentist.com in your call-to-action. For example, in the ad, the copy should include,
“To make an appointment, visit GreatAustinDentist.com.”
When a listener types the domain name into their browser, it will forward to your main company website—but through the tracking URL. This will register as a visitor from your Fun 101.1 campaign in Google Analytics.
Then you can use the other unique domains, each forwarded to a unique tracking URL, to track the other stations.
This gives you a clear idea of which stations are driving the most traffic and new customers.

So Many Uses

If you don’t advertise on expensive media like the radio, TV, and billboards, there are still ways you can use unique domains to track offline ads.
Let’s say you are trying to drum up business at three different colleges in town. Using unique domain names for each college campus, you can understand which colleges are bringing in the most students. With that data, you can focus your time on those campuses going forward.

Get started!

Before your run your next offline advertising campaign, register some unique domains at Namecheap and forward them through tracking URLs using Namecheap’s FreeDNS free domain forwarding.

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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