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Tracking Print ROI Is Necessary AND Possible

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Print and online together bring the best of both worlds


Chances are pretty good that you are being told to demonstrate the ROI on your marketing spend, but do you know that you don’t have to abandon print advertising to do so? The need to take print ads out of your marketing mix because you can’t prove that buyers are taking action on them may be nothing more than the latest marketing myth ripe for busting.

According to a recent study, 96 percent of media users read trade magazines and visit websites to keep up with what’s happening in their industry. And these readers are not choosing one medium over another – 74 percent are using both print and digital media for work-related insights, switching back and forth between the two. (ABM Value of B-to-B report, July 2013)

It’s a little tough to eliminate a proven medium from your mix when you see results like that. There are tried-and-true methods for tracking print ROI that take a little extra effort but, when done right, create new opportunities for customer engagement. The best news is that your print and digital efforts can work together to demonstrate print ROI – the best of both worlds.

  •  "87% of heavy mobile users engage with trade magazines in print, online or digitally every day." — ABM Value of B-to-B Report, July 2013

Tracking basics

A good place to start tracking responses to your print ads is in the things you likely are already including in those ads: your web address and a QR code, both of which can send prospects to a dedicated landing page on your website.

Directing print ad readers to a specific website landing page means you can provide additional information about a particular product to an already-interested potential customer. Once you get a prospect to your website, be sure there is a phone number for direct contact with an expert or a form for requesting additional information – and maybe a quote! Your Web analytic software can tell you how many people arrived at that page. And remember – in digital editions of print magazines, your landing page Web address turns into a link. See samples at and

QR codes on your print ad are another good way to direct interested readers to an ad-specific landing page, and they couldn’t be easier to create. A number of QR code generator applications are available online, and your B2B publisher should be able to create one for you and incorporate it into your existing ad.

If you want to get really fancy – and tell your story with a little action – investigate augmented reality (AR) animation. You have to invest upfront in creating the animation, but a number of AR browsers, including Junaio and Argon, let readers enjoy your products in a whole new dimension right from tablets and smartphones. See samples at and

For really special announcements, consider attracting attention to your ad by putting it on a belly band on the outside of the magazine, or designing a standout cover or inside page gatefold or even an insert. But don’t forget to include the URL and QR code that let you track reader responses.

At the risk of sounding “old school,” an ad-specific phone number on a print ad also can help you gauge response to the ad simply by tracking the calls to that number. It’s still effective. It just doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a print/online combo or AR.

Proven ROI from Photonics Media

Ad-tracking basics can be put into place no matter where you are placing your ads, but two trusted publications available only from Photonics Media – Photonics Buyers' Guide and Photonics Showcase – offer a proven print and online trackable one-two punch.

The Photonics Buyers' Guide has been printed continuously since 1954, from its start as the Optical Industry Directory. A listing in the print edition also appears in the online guide, with hyperlinks to your website and email. A multimedia advertising program in Photonics Buyers' Guide includes a comprehensive custom Storefront Profile on with products, video, and white papers – based on your level of investment.

When you advertise your new products in the print edition of Photonics Showcase, that ad will appear online at, where views can be tracked. Click-throughs to your website can also be tracked. In addition to the benefits of advertising in the print edition, sent six times a year to 53,000 US Photonics Spectra readers, you can extend your reach by purchasing digital enhancements that increase your ad's visibility.

Contact your regional advertising manager for more information. And don't give up the print!

BrandingPrint AdvertisingMeasuring ROIOutbound Marketing

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