How offline ads drive traffic to websites and boost sales
Brands spending money on television advertisements and other offline channels have an added incentive to make sure their websites are optimised for search, conversion and user experience.
New research has shown that people viewing these ads are likely to head to straight online and might even be ready to make an immediate purchase.
This means sites that are difficult to navigate, lack regularly-updated content or don’t work properly on mobile devices could seriously undermine offline campaigns.
Google’s mobile-friendly update went live last month. Sites that fail Google’s mobile-friendly test face a significant drop in their search rankings, making them much harder to find for people searching on tablets and smartphones.
The study, featured in the journal Marketing Science, revealed that a television ad often led to a spike in traffic on the relevant brand’s websites.
Previously, advertisers have feared that our addiction to connected devices, particularly smartphones and tablets, led to more people tuning out during commercial breaks.
Rather than sit and watch the ads while they wait for their chosen programme to restart, they jump straight on to Facebook or BuzzFeed and ignore all that expensively-made promotional content.
But this new research suggests the opposite is true. Easy access to the internet could in fact be a real asset for brands investing in television adverts as viewers will be heading straight to their websites.
Smartphones and tablets become virtual storefronts
“The second screen – the one on your phone or computer – is feared by television advertisers,” said Juru Liaukonyte, one of the report’s authors. “They think the second screen is distracting TV viewers and thereby decreasing the effectiveness of television advertising.
“However, this point of view misses the upside of second screening – the TV viewer now has a virtual store in front of her,” Professor Liaukonyte added. “Multitasking viewers now rapidly respond online to price promotions and other information communicated through TV ads.”
This “virtual store” effect also applies to the high street. When people are out shopping in the real world, they have the ability to research products, read reviews and compare prices right there in their pockets.
As a result, brands need to ensure that their websites are ready to present them in the best possible light. Even if your focus is on other marketing channels, you can bet your potential customers are using the web and social media to learn about you and the products you sell.
Quick conversions and longer-term relationships
Getting your website optimised for search, conversion, user experience and mobile devices gives you an opportunity to get at these people while they’re still deciding who should get their hard-earned dollars.
With the right content, you can build the sorts of relationships that can lead to future sales and repeat business. In some cases, you’ll be able to achieve a conversion right away.
That’s certainly the case with some of these multi-tasking television viewers who immediately pull out their smartphones when a particular ad catches their eye.
Professor Liaukonyte’s research revealed that ads featuring emotional or informative arguments sent fewer people to the brands’ websites, but those visitors were much more likely to make a purchase.