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» Online Strategy, Paid Search in General, PPC Analysis & Case Studies » Why We Need PPC Marketing To Compliment The “Offline” World

Why We Need PPC Marketing To Compliment The “Offline” World


The way human beings interact and react to what interests them the most in this world has become a transparent media blitz that has evolved and involved both Radio, TV, Internet, Mobile and Word of Mouth. With regard to the purpose of this blog article, the way people search for things on the Internet has been altered over the years and when our past connection with the media at one time which was separated by either TV sets or the Internet has now officially been extinct.

Now, when breaking news happens or a story that sparks interests, we sometimes get the news first on the web, then we migrate over to Cable TV and if we are on the road, we turn to the radio or if a passenger we go to our Blackberry or iPhone. It is this collective and holistic behavior that has made an impact on Search Marketing and in particular PPC. In this post, I will discuss my thoughts on this phenomena as well as provide an actual “non-scientific” case study from a successful multi-channel PPC strategy back in 2003 which helped my Catalog company continue to succeed online.

Screen shot 2010-01-10 at 10.27.10 AM Have you watched a cable news program lately? Ever notice the anchors using network time to push their own twitter and facebook accounts from the TV to the web in the hopes that your comment or tweet to them makes it on the air so you can have your 5 seconds of fame? If you can relate to this behavior, imagine watching a TV series, TV Special or even a Movie Trailer on TV and then migrating to the web to watch a past episode or do a search on something related about that specific show. That is the world we live in now. Here is an interesting article & photo from the New York Times entitled” Some Online Shows Could Go Subscription-Only” which visually relates to this blog topic

We move to the web to watch back-episodes, see exclusive content, etc… Now with this convergence of TV and Internet working together, my PPC Geek Hat asks the question: Where does PPC fit in the mix? Wouldn’t a PPC Campaign be a great opportunity to capture the visitors attention at their highest level of INTENT. Can you envision a human watching TV with a laptop on their lap doing a search for something that they just saw on TV a second ago? Of course you would. (well, I am one of those people)

Actual Case Study From Past Experience:

Back in 2003, the catalog company for which I worked decided to spend some Ad dollars on (cable channel) Spike TV. It was a 30 minute TV show which promoted the Catalog and all of it’s products. However, as intelligent and experienced most successful catalog companies are, we wanted to test and track everything. So, my eCommerce Team teamed up with the Print Catalog Team and we can up with a holistic strategy to maximize the TV advertising dollars that went into this Ad so we could not only increase sales, but also learn something in the process. The end results were very promising. In fact, it was so successful, that they continued the TV advertising for many years later.

Here’s what we did in general:

Landing Page/Website Reference:

  • We made sure we had a Subdomain/Virtual Directory to track visitors and ensure that all of them  were referenced to a specific URL coming only from the TV Ad (for examples: http:///www.XXXXXX.com/TV)
  • We created a custom landing page for this URL which included as conversion elements and interaction as possible. For example, this “hybrid” landing page included (Catalog Request Form, Email Newsletter Signup, Products mentioned in the TV show with Prices and BUY NOW buttons)
  • We also made sure to provide a seamless, co-branded message and design to complement the TV show. (for example: Thank you for watching the TV Show XXX, related Network and show logos, as well as the catalog cover used in the show)
  • Also to note, the Landing Page was created at least 1 month before the show for advanced SEO Indexing (at the time)

The Overall PPC Strategy:

All Text Ads were tested and referenced some of the following:

  • Name of the Show
  • Network name
  • Topic of show
  • Show Host
  • Manufacturers/Vendors
  • Free Catalog request CTA

Separate PPC Campaigns segmented by the following:

  • Network Name
  • Show Name
  • Host Name
  • All products mentioned in show
  • Product Manufacturers/Vendors mentioned in show

Overall Testing Performed

  • Multi-variate Text Ad Testing
  • Network name vs. host name vs. brands vs. products
  • Manufacturer and Vendor Comparisons
  • Orders vs. Catalog Requests vs. Email Newsletter Signups
  • Ad Delivery TestsDay-parting based on show air dates,
  • Geographic targeting when shows were aired in specific states
  • Seasonality calendar to support known syndication air dates

Web Analytics Reviewed and Analyzed

  • Separate conversion tracking for (catalog requests, orders, email signups and overall bounce rate
  • Conversion Funnel Analysis for all above
  • Geographic segmentation
  • Referring sites (google vs. yahoo. vs msn)
  • Internal Pages viewed (specific product pages, internal searches, etc…)
  • Overall Traffic but date and time

In Conclusion:

Now, you may say why do all this much work for just a TV Advertisement. We all know standard Web Analytics will tell us we had a big spike in traffic and orders was because the TV Ad on this specific date and time. However, when you are putting PPC Dollars into the mix for this test, the “Boss in the corner office” wants more than just the obvious “hey, success! Sales went up!”. We knew that if we could learn something for this experience, we could not only utilize it in the print catalog or other print advertisements, we could be the only niche catalog retailer to identify an instantaneous offline to online behavior, which enables us to make adjustments and improve the user experience the next time around.

Honestly, to this day I cannot remember which Text Ad performed the best or how many catalog requests and orders were achieved. However, what I can tell you is that it was a success and it continued for many years later. So, if you get anything from this post, it’s to make sure you have a PPC presence and a continued “branded” Landing Page to ensure the person can visualize a seamless user interaction from “OFFLINE to ONLINE”

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