Data & Audience Insights, Direct Mail Products

Direct Mail Tracking: Analyzing Your Marketing Performance


As a mail marketer, one of the most important ways you can analyze marketing performance is to track direct mail campaigns. When you have insight into how your mail reaches customers, you’re able to plan future campaigns.

Before you hand over your campaign to the U.S. Postal Service, you should examine what mail tracking methods are available and work best. Then, put them in your call-to-action to make it easy to measure the success of your campaigns.

How Will You Track Your Direct Mail Campaigns?

Once your marketing campaign has dropped, some of the most crucial work begins from the moment responses of one kind or another pop up. Basically, you need to understand:

  • Who is responding?
  • How are they responding?

You need to know exactly what response channels provide value – and how much. It may not be as obvious as it seems at first glance.

Fortunately, several approaches can help you evaluate the performance of your campaign.

Call Tracking Software

Phone call tracking is enabled by using a unique answer number for a specific campaign or mailing list, as well as for specific audience segments if desired. Call tracking software matches numbers called to a sale, lead, or other outcome.

Whether a number is a dedicated toll-free line or a local number, the call goes to a call center or forwards automatically to a regular business line. Or, for local companies taking a much simpler approach, calls to a single, trackable phone number can be monitored by staff along with a coupon code from the mail piece.

URL Tracking

Once you have set up a campaign specific URL (e.g.,, you can track responses to mail with that limited-time web page. Even when it’s expired, any hits that are redirected to another page or the main page are still attributable to the promotional URL.

Your analytics platform can tell you a lot about shopper behavior, such as pages visited, time on each one, and purchases (or abandoned carts).

Personalized URLs (PURLs) are also trackable. But because they can be populated with unique data for each customer, they create a unique URL that stands out more than a generic trackable URL. And they can give you additional insights on their shopping experience when used by a consumer. These insights can lead to better-targeted opportunities in the future that drive a higher response.

Another URL tracking tool is Google’s Campaign URL Builder. With a UTM parameter added to the end of your URL, you’ll get insights on the marketing channel that they used to open your page, as well as how they interacted with it.

QR Codes

Quick Response (QR) codes are 2-dimensional barcodes that provide a bridge from the physical mailpiece on which they’re printed to the digital world. When scanned by a customer’s smartphone, they activate a custom landing page, app, or social media platform. Whether they’re generic or personalized, Google Analytics and other tools can track a number of metrics, such as your target’s device operating system, location, number of scans, unique scans, and time period.

Coupon Codes

Also known as source codes, coupon codes have been a reliable, if low-tech, mail tracking method for decades. The codes, when printed on a mailpiece, help a customer redeem the offer as well as confirm which offer the customer or prospect is responding to. However, if you have an identical promotion, sale, or offer on any other channel (e.g., email, banner ad, etc.), set up a different code in your CRM system to provide the right attribution.

Now That You’re Tracking Direct Mail Campaigns, What Next?

Direct mail response is all about numbers – what you spend versus what you get back in purchases (or, in the case of non-profits, donations). And it’s important to know all of these metrics because you have to figure out how they align with the goals of your campaign.

Your goal or goals dictate which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should pay attention to – or ignore.

Here’s how to calculate the most important metrics.

  • Average response rate – Divide the total count of responses by the number of pieces mailed, then multiply by 100. This figure, though, can be misleading, as it doesn’t always indicate if a mailing succeeds or fails.
  • Conversion rate – Divide the number of sales by the total number of responses, then multiply by 100. Again, the quality of the sales achieved may be more important to the overall success of the campaign than the amount of sales.
  • Average order size/Average order value – Divide your total revenue by your total number of orders; average amount of money a customer spends in one transaction.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) – Divide total cost of campaign by total number of sales for the cost to acquire one paying customer.
  • Return On Investment (ROI) – Subtract revenue generated by the mail piece from the campaign costs, then divide by the campaign costs. Next, multiply that result by 100 to get this figure.

One last thing to keep in mind is Lifetime Value (LTV). This customer KPI measures the project revenue a customer is expected to generate over a lifetime. Calculating this number can be complicated. Also, it may vary greatly based on company and type of customer. The point is that some customers are worth nurturing over the long term with smart use of data, incentives, upsells, and other tactics.

Wrapping it up

Every point of contact on your mail piece needs to be unique and accounted for to provide attribution. With the right insights, your success metrics will help you decide what customers to focus your marketing efforts on. This means you’ll get the biggest and best bang for your buck.

Tracking your direct mail campaigns is only part of the equation. Here at, our data management experts know how to help you set up the best tracking and measurement practices. Call or reach out to us today to get started on raising both your response rates and campaign ROI.

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