Hi Dee How

With the advent of pixel-based attribution in Podcast, there have been a lot of changes to the attribution landscape in the past year. Still, the How Did You Hear About Us (HDYHAU) post-purchase survey remains the gold standard for offline performance attribution. This week, we’re pleased to present an updated article about the purpose and proper use of the HDYHAU survey that has benefited dozens of advertisers by allowing them to get more reliable performance data from their campaigns.

The Most Important Acronym in Offline Advertising: HYDHAU

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. But 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 this 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.

The 1-to-1 measurement of offline advertising is a recipe for failure because 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 visit 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 actually follow through. The better the offer, the more likely people will follow your path. But even with a great offer, a 1-to-1 ratio of signal to total response is impossible to achieve. Let’s imagine you’re a restaurant owner. You ask people to come to your establishment, but upon arrival, they must enter through the back door and give a secret password to enter. 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 decide to use 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, and many of our clients use SurveyMonkey, Grapevine, 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 a survey 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. Instead, 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 a post-purchase survey emailed the 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 don’t include more than 10 options in your survey. The intent of the survey is to capture responses by channel, and 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.

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 — the more data you can capture before launch, the better your attribution will be. Establishing a baseline of these false-positives before the campaign starts ensures more accurate projected results.

Update: 2/26/2020

5) What About Pixel Tracking?

Since the original posting of this article, we have seen the emergence of pixel tracking on podcasts to provide a more accurate accounting of a campaign’s non-direct traffic. While the promise of pixel tracking and the potential implications of this methodology are worthy of a thought piece of its own (stay tuned), it does have its limitations in its current state. There are currently only 3 main companies providing pixel tracking, and we’re working with them all. Suffice to say, pixel tracking is still in its infancy and should not be your primary source of truth just yet. Our recommendation at this point is to continue to use the proven methods outlined above and explore these pixel-based methodologies as they become more established. Moreover, until we figure out how to drop pixels into our car stereos, you will still need a survey to track traditional audio channels like radio and satellite.

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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