April 24th, 2019

It’s Simple To A/B Test Print Campaigns With Call Tracking

Testing Print Ads

Large parts of marketing moved into the online spectrum over the past few years. Still, print advertising is an effective way to promote your business. Studies show that consumers trust ads more in printed format which leads to higher rates of engagement.

Despite this advantage, print ads still fall short compared to digital marketing when it comes to generating data. You have the ability to meticulously track every click and conversion with an online campaign. When your business runs a print ad, though, it can be difficult to tell exactly how many leads it generates. Even worse, the lack of data from print ads makes A/B testing next to impossible.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to this problem: call tracking software. Call tracking allows your company can create unique phone numbers for each ad campaign and use the volume of calls each number receives to test the efficacy of its marketing. Here’s what you need to know about A/B testing in print marketing and how call tracking can give you the raw data you need to run useful comparison tests.

Why Is A/B Testing Critical?

Digital marketing is incredibly effective because of the massive amounts of data. This data gives you the ability to A/B test and optimize campaigns. Businesses can determine the efficacy of every aspect of an ad, from the copy to the color scheme. The real beauty of A/B tests is that you can run them over and over again. Then can improve each version of the campaign on a continuous basis. Over time, A/B testing often increases the ROI from your marketing efforts. This leads to larger revenues for your business.

In the context of a digital marketing campaign, this kind of testing and retesting is made very easy by technology. Between services like Google Analytics and digital trackers such as cookies and tracking pixels, your business can more or less follow a customer through the entire digital sales funnel with ease. When it comes to print advertising, though, the data generated from this kind of tracking simply isn’t available.

How Can Call Tracking Solve the Problem?

If you want to test multiple iterations on a print advertising campaign, call tracking is one of the best tools you can possibly use. In order to measure the performance of different versions of your ad, you’ll need to assign a unique contact point for each version. While this could be done via email, creating a unique phone number for each campaign using call tracking software is easier and more effective. In this way, you’ll be able to identify the ad that converted a caller simply by looking at what number he or she is calling.

You can use call tracking to measure results from your print campaigns and test different elements of your ads. Use it to compare conversion rates from different combinations of headlines, calls to action, copy, color choices, photographs and incentives. This gives you the ability to discover which aspects of your ads are most effective in getting potential customers to act.

What Kinds of Print Advertising Can Be Optimized With A/B Testing?

Even in today’s increasingly digital marketing environment, there is a huge selection of outlets in which your business can run print advertisements. Following are some of the major types of print campaigns you can test with call tracking, along with some helpful tips for A/B testing in each specific context:

Newspapers and Magazines

Newspaper and magazine ads can be tested by running them in different locations within the publication or by trying different ad sizes. Since different publications will tend to have their own audiences, it’s a good idea to run your ad in multiple newspapers and magazines to determine which ones will have audiences that are most receptive to your message. Finding the right audience is especially important in magazine marketing since magazines tend to cover specific niches.

Direct Mailers

The most obvious variable to consider when testing mailers are their geographic location. Sending mailers to different locations and use call tracking to determine which provide the best returns. You can also use A/B testing to fine-tune the timing of your mail campaigns by comparing results from different time periods.


Like direct mailers, you can test leaflets according to where they are distributed. Leaflets also give you the opportunity to test practically every aspect of design. You can adjust anything from the size of the leaflet itself to the fonts and colors. Leaflets are among the most flexible options for testing your company’s marketing.

Vehicle Advertisements

Trying to test car wraps, taxi toppers or work truck advertisements? You need to place a different ad on each vehicle then track the unique phone numbers. You should also keep track of the routes each vehicle takes to get an idea of the effectiveness of location.

Billboards and Banners

Believe it or not, you can even test static advertisements like billboards with call tracking. Test to see which billboard location is best by placing unique phone numbers on each. Billboards are an expensive avenue to continually edit and improve upon but are still a useful selling tool. A 2017 Nielsen study found that 60 percent of consumers believed billboards to be useful for discovering new products and businesses, while nearly a quarter had made at least one purchase because of a billboard advertisement.

A/B testing is essential if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your print ads. Improve your marketing ROI and gain more paying customers by gradually improving ad design. Your company can garner useful insights about print ads performance with call tracking. Then you can edit and optimize both your online and offline campaigns.