Offline ads influence two in three searchers

There’s an interesting study out today from Jupiter Research that adds weight to the notion that offline advertising plays a big part in driving targeted and demand-driven search activity.

The survey, responded to by over 2,000 internet users in the US, found 67% of the online search population had been driven to the web to look for something they had seen or heard of offline.

This reflects our thinking, and mirrors what we've been hearing anecdotally. Nobody visits Google without having a search query in mind. What triggers such a query? Offline advertising is one such influencer, and Jupiter has some good stats on this after the jump...

The survey found that searchers driven to the likes of Google by offline 'advertising' (it can mean word of mouth too) have a high propensity to convert. 39% of these searchers ended up making a purchase, suggesting high potential returns for ad campaigns that are optimised to target them.

Of the offline channels responsible for triggering searches (pdf), TV ads were top. They had prompted 37% of online searchers to look for a company, slogan, service or product in the previous six months, the study said.

Word of mouth was a close second (36%), followed by ads in newspapers or magazines (30%).

Robert Murray, president of iProspect, which commissioned the research, said:

"It makes sense that offline channel messaging could pique a user's curiousity enough to motivate them to search for additional information. But most offline advertising doesn't exactly make it easy for customers to find a company's website."

We’d argue that that last sentence isn’t always true, but that there are serious gains to be had by studying how search campaigns can affect/be affected by offline marketing activities. And many offline marketers don't pay enough attention to dastardly multichannel thinking, much less measurement.

For example, why is it that a large chunk of TV advertising fails to display a URL somewhere within the creative? And of those firms that do, how many buy a new domain to use a unique URL to help measure the effectiveness of these ads?

If yours is a multichannel brand, then you should consider buying a dedicated URL and mapping it to a dedicated page / channel / microsite. You'll then be able to measure response, both in terms of direct referrals and via Google. It's a no-brainer, and when you're spending millions on TV ads then a few extra quid on a domain name and landing page won't break the bank.

We've also seen TV advertisers buying paid search ads to set up some signposts to their website, and not just on brand terms. I think Sony did this for its Bravia ads, the one where the coloured balls bounce down the street, although it is now top of the organic listings for 'coloured balls ad', so maybe it doesn't need to buy visibility anymore.

Ken McGaffin recently wrote about how to pick and optimise the right keywords to target searchers that have been influenced by other forms of advertising – something the study also goes into.

It says (pdf) 44% of searchers looked for all or part of a company’s name, 24% for all or part of a product or service’s name, 6% for part of a slogan or advertising and - trickily - 26% for 'other keywords' or things they couldn’t remember.

As a sidenote, can you think of any examples of TV ads specifically created from a position of 'we're top of Google for keyword X'?

At any rate, good stuff from Jupiter, and more proof that it's a multi-channel world out there...

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