Offline Drives Online Traffic

I sometimes get the feeling that business are all too willing to abandon their “heartland” (traditional media) in favour of the new holy grail (new media). I would hurriedly say that I believe that a business will not prosper in today’s climate without an online presence.

But, it’s the marriage of both that critical. Your offline presence can, and will, drive your online traffic. So, how you project yourself offline should be carried through online. I did some work for a company and one of the areas I looked at was their web traffic and where it originates. By way of explanation, the company name (as it traded under) was not a term found in regular English and it was very unique.

In their offline advertising they brand themselves very strongly in terms of that business name, what they do (keywords) and their address, both physical and web. Looking through their stats I found that the highest search phrase driving traffic to their site is their unusual business name, by quiet a stretch.

It’s a very strong indication that, in this case, the offline is definitely driving online traffic. A classic example of a offline advertising driving online is based on the animal that has for the past few months invaded our screens – a Meerkat! The absolutely classic advertising campaign for www.comparethemarket.com has taken offline eyeballs to drive online clicks on both the main site and a ‘mirror’ site called www.comparethemeerkat.com which is an obvious parody on their main site.

But have a look at some of the traffic graphs. Going from a standing start, the meerkat (parody) site has rocketed in daily traffic – all mainly driven from offline. Traffic on the main site has ballooned as well. According to Google Trends, traffic increased from around 8,000 daily visits before the campaign to close to 20,000 by the end of April. I would like to see how much downstream traffic the main site gets from the “meerkat” site or is it just a tyre kicking exercise going to the second site.

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A spin off to this campaign is a new found appreciation of the meerkat or is it meercat? A simple(s) mistake if ‘meerkat’ isn’t in your personal lexicon. Seemingly people are not too familiar with the humble meerkat – but they make a stab at it (certainly no pun intended). Here are the trends for attempts of the word in the UK since the beginning of the campaign:

meerkat_meercat In April there were 550,000 monthly searches of the term “meerkat” an increase of 1400% on December. Searches for “meercat” are currently at 60,000 monthly up a similar percent on the same month. Comparethemarket.com is currently rankling 6th in the UK for the search term ‘meerkat’. I would think that they should try and push that up a little (if possible) as it’s near the fold, if not below it on some screens.

Also rival insurance comparison site – www.confused.com are bidding on the keyword “meerkat” and rather cheaply as well. With all the money spent on a fantastic campaign, you would feel that comparethemarket would a) optimise a little better and b) certainly bit on the cheap keyword to fully support their campaign. Simples!