As marketers who specialize in the online, we are often asked if we work in other mediums, such as tv, radio or print. While we do occasionally venture away from our computers, the truth of the matter is, nearly all advertising leads to the web these days. When a customer sees your billboard ad on the street, are they going to walk into your store? Not likely, they’ll do some research online before making a decision whether or not to come to your store. While we agree that on occasion these mediums are successful at driving direct sales (the home shopping channel), more and more people are turning to the web for information before they buy. This enables marketers like us not to waste money on mass advertising, but instead target the right customers. For this reason alone, we’ve chosen the web as our medium of choice.
This combination of using mass media to drive traffic to a web platform was most evident during the 2006 Super Bowl. With companies shelling out millions of dollars to have their ad shown in this primetime slot, you have to believe that a ton all those marketing managers meticulously worked out the user experience from start to finish for maximal affect and return right? Well, the numbers show about 40% of these ads actually mentioned a website. And of those that did, even fewer took the time to ensure their website was ranked #1, with ads or not for keywords used in their ads. Kind of shocking really. Further to that point, only about half of these advertisers were smart enough to realize that Youtube sees a huge increase of search for terms like “superbowl ads” around the Superbowl. If they didn’t take the time to load up their video on Youtube, they were missing out on millions of impressions on their brand.
In a short 5 years however, companies have started to smarten up. Not only are they showing URL’s but they are also posting teasers, and full videos on the web, ensuring they are high-ranking, and also purposely directing their customers to learn more online with interesting content. Go Daddy did this best with their “They wouldn’t let us air our real commercial, go to godaddy.com to see what ABC wouldn’t show” ads.
By understanding user search behavior, you’ll better be able to reach and connect with your target audience. Mass media is great for driving traffic, but harnessing that traffic is most important for seeing a return on investment.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the power of the web for marketing purposes – share your thoughts in the comments below.