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The Truth About Direct Mail Attribution

By September 27, 2019 No Comments

We are huge believers in being able to use direct mail in the same way we leverage digital in marketing campaigns. Yet, there’s one simple truth about direct mail tracking we don’t love talking about: attribution in direct mail doesn’t quite work the same way as it does in the digital world.  In digital marketing, it is common practice to use unique tracking URLs, phone numbers and/or promo codes and to perform attribution solely based on these tracking mechanisms.  Yet, the reality of direct mail attribution isn’t quite as clear cut.

ReachDynamics analyzed the direct mail performance of its clients and found direct mail to significantly outperform all digital channels in terms of conversion rates.  However, it was also found that direct mail conversions take longer than digital.  For example, ReachDynamics did a recent case study for an insurance client and determined there was a significant performance difference between email and direct mail when retargeting anonymous web site visitors.  Specifically, it was discovered that direct mail converted at a 76% higher rate than email.  On the other hand, direct mail conversions took twice as long as email conversions.

So what does this delayed response time mean for direct mail attribution? With digital, it appears that consumers tend to respond quickly but direct mail acts differently.  When consumers receive a direct mail piece, it creates a lasting impression but not necessarily a sense of urgency to act.  With today’s busy schedules, consumers don’t always have time to respond to direct mail immediately, resulting in a longer response time.

While there is value in analyzing direct mail responses using whatever creative tracking you have in place, relying on this for full attribution will never create a complete picture of the impact of your direct mail campaigns since we can’t expect consumers to hold on to the direct mail they receive.  In order to truly understand the impact of your direct mail campaigns, you should always perform a full attribution analysis.  In order to do this, you need to compare the list of recipients of your direct mail campaigns with your conversion list to get an accurate understanding of its impact and its ROI.

ReachDynamics offers a free tool to its clients which simplifies this process, either manually or via API. Direct mail send data can be exported from the ReachDynamics’ platform and compared with your CRM/conversion data or ReachDynamics can import your CRM/conversion data and perform the analysis for you.

In the end, take the time and run an in-depth analysis of your sends and conversions to accomplish a true direct mail attribution analysis.  Trust us, it’s worth it.


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