The Most Important Acronym in Offline Advertising: HDYHAU

We marketers love our acronyms. KPI, CPA, CAC, LTV, ROI, ROAS–it’s all about measuring campaign performance. However, the acronym most performance marketers overlook is perhaps the most important one for offline marketing: HDYHAU, or the “How Did You Hear About Us” survey.

In the digital age, almost everything is trackable. However, when it comes to measuring channels, like Radio or Podcast, you need to dig deeper, and even seasoned marketers are falling short. Late last year, The Influencer published an article on how to effectively measure offline advertising using the directional measurement of vanity URLs and promo codes in combination with the HDYHAU survey. Today, we will dive a bit deeper into why the HDYHAU is essential and how to create one that will give your business what it needs to measure your offline advertising efforts accurately.

1-to-1 measurement of offline advertising is a recipe for failure because, despite your wishes, most of your customers will not actually follow your Call-To-Action instructions. Without a proper survey in place, you’ll inaccurately attribute the lion’s share of your campaign’s response. In your radio, streaming or podcast ads, you’ll likely ask listeners to go to a vanity URL or enter a promo code. Unless your offer is so ridiculously amazing that every single person listening would be foolish NOT to jump through the vanity URL/Promo Code hoops, only 5%-25% of people will follow the path you’ve presented. The better the offer, the more likely people will follow your path. Yet, even with a great offer, a 1-to-1 ratio of signal to total response is impossible. Imagine you’re a restaurant owner. You tell people to come to your establishment, but when they arrive, they must enter through the back door giving a secret password to gain entrance. If all you’re offering in return for their efforts is extra napkins, very few will go through the exercise. You could even offer free food for a year and many would still come in the front door. Your business’ website is no different. In this restaurant scenario, consider the HDYHAU survey to be akin to a person standing outside the restaurant, gathering intel on everyone’s point of entry. The survey is the surest way to capture everyone that enters your funnel as a result of your campaign–even those who do so directly or through organic and paid search.   

Setup is easy. Many of our clients use SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or something similar to handle the HDYHAU. These options are relatively inexpensive or free and can save your team the time and trouble of creating one from the ground up.

Once you’ve made the wise decision to implement a HDYHAU survey, here’s how to do it:

1) Where To Place The HDYHAU

While dropping your survey at the top of your funnel would yield the most statistically significant results, we do not want to interfere with any of the points in the funnel. Therefore, a HDYHAU placed immediately after the final transaction on your site will keep your product and engineering teams happy. If an in-funnel survey is not possible (though in-funnel is the best case scenario), a post-purchase survey conducted daily via email is recommended. Alternatively, weekly and monthly surveys are also useful. However, it is important to note that the user recall and response rates will not be as reliable compared to the post-purchase survey emailed same-day.

2) The Survey Questions

Your survey must be as simple as possible to ensure the highest response rate. Resist the temptation to list every single marketing outlet you’ve ever tried (or want to try) and keep the options general. Broad categories like Radio, TV, Social Media, Podcast, Friend, Direct Mail and Other should suffice, but less is more. Throwing in a red herring like Yellow Pages will help weed out lazy responders but if you have more than 10 options in your survey, you’re doing it wrong. The intent of the survey is to capture response by channel. You can track the directional impact of individual placements using vanity URLs or Promo Codes. With too many options, most people will not take the time to choose the correct path, and your survey results will be compromised. Avoid drop-downs and open-entry fields. Simple one-click buttons with only one selection per transaction is the best practice. Also, make sure your survey is randomized for proper distribution of results. If the top option is always Newspaper, that selection will be your “top” response. If the list changes every time the survey is sent, your data will be cleaner. Of course, if you have “Other” as a response, that is the one item which should have a dedicated place in the list, as the last option. In our experience, the responses in the “Other” bucket can be classified into other categories. If you have “Other” as an option, the responses should be proportionately based on each channel’s share of share of response.




3) Whom To Survey?

The survey should be distributed to ALL purchasers (or signups, if that is your KPI), or to enough randomized customers to gather statistically significant data. As a rule of thumb, aim to have at least a 30% response rate, but the volume of total transactions on your site will determine the percentage that’s statistically significant for your business. Finding your response rate will require some trial and error, so before landing on a minimum number of customers to survey, start by surveying everyone. You can work your way down as you better understand how many customers are needed to give you the necessary data set, but more data is always better.


4) When To Launch the HDYHAU?

ASAP. Whether it’s fat fingers or simple non-compliance, there will always be a percentage of people who will click an incorrect response in your survey. Companies who have only run radio will get a small percentage of customers who swear they saw an ad on TV (that’s radio doing it’s “theater of the mind” thing). Therefore, you will need to establish a baseline of false positives before the campaign launches. At a minimum, we recommend two weeks to determine your baseline for survey responses, but the more data you can capture before launch the better your attribution will be. Establishing a baseline of these false-positives before the campaign gets going ensures more accurate projected results.

That’s it, in a nutshell. At Oxford Road, we’ve helped clients go from 5%-10% survey response rates to well over 50% using these best practices. To see clients we’ve helped and are doing the HDYHAU right, check out Everlane, Hippo Insurance & Boll & Branch.
If you’re ready to take the leap into offline advertising, setting up a proper HDYHAU survey is the most cost-effective, statistically significant way to measure total campaign response. Without it, you’re flying blind. If you’re interested in learning more, schedule a free consultation with one of our experts by clicking HERE.

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