In a recent post, I discussed the value of integrating multiple aspects of marketing into a cohesive campaign. In today’s post I will discuss connecting traditional and online marketing.
Land Rover recently made headlines for using a Twitter hashtag in its marketing efforts:
Although the majority of headlines and blog discussions revolved around Land Rover’s use of paid Twits to spread their message, I feel this is a landmark for advertising – Land Rover is the first major brand to incorporate Twitter into a traditional advertising campaign.
Sure, numerous conferences, charities, and movements have used hashtags in the past, but Land Rover is likely the first household name to embrace the new medium.
The great thing about online advertising is the ability to track response. Whereas traditionl marketing relies on surveys, samples, and focus groups; paid search provides a glut of data, ready and waiting to be sifted through by an analytics ninja. It makes sense that marketers would want to link the power & influence of traditional media with the trackability of online.
Facebook, to its credit, is taking notice of Big Brand’s interest in integrating new media with traditional advertising and reportedly considering selling vanity URLs.
So how can an advertiser track efforts online:
My favorite vanity URL use of the moment is VH1’s and MTV’s use of vanity URLs for their different shows. rockoflove.vh1.com or thehills.mtv.com are much easier to remember than http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/the_hills/series.jhtml or http://www.vh1.com/shows/rock_of_love/season_3/series.jhtml.
Webmasters can readily track how many users come to vh1.com or mtv.com from the vanity URLs by looking at their web analytics reports. Setting up a custom segment or separate profile would also allow advertisers to track how these users behave on their site.
Social Media Monitoring
Marketers can also employ listening tools to guage the impact of specific campaigns. Companies such as Radian 6, Techrigy, and Unbound Technologies make it relatively easy (albeit somewhat expensive) to track brand mentions and monitor specific keywords on the web.
The impact of a specific campaign can be guaged by looking for spikes in brand discussions or by isolating specific keywords related to the campaign. For example, Volkswagon’s latest marketing efforts could be gauged by monitoring mentions of “das auto”.
Hashtags are a way of monitoring discussions about a specific topic. For marketers, that topic should be your company’s marketing campaign.
Simply adding a hashtag to an advertisement is not going to generate much discussion. Marketers should spark conversation with the ad campaign and then arm users with a hashtag to discuss. For example, the upcoming Wolverine movie could create a hashtag #WolvMov and ask users to review the movie on Twitter and post videos on YouTube.
The next step is to register the hashtag on sites such as Tagalus or Hashtags.org in case individuals forget and need to look it up. The biggest knock on hashtags are that users have no idea what hashtags mean; hashtag registries resolve this issue.
Tracking a hashtag is relatively simple. Tagalus is best as it tracks hashtags on Twitter, YouTube, & Flickr:
The Future of Gauging Impact of Traditional Advertising
Hashtags are a relatively new phenomenon, but conceivably hashtags could be the Rosetta Stone that links traditional marketing with online marketing. As identified by Kevin Rose, hashtags are not Twitter-specific and could be used across social media sites, blogs, and news.
Tracking hashtags across multiple platforms is incredibly easy. Furthermore, Google alerts, Yahoo pipes, blog search, and social listening tools make tracking hashtags cheap.
But simply knowing where the discussions are does not help much with measuring ROI. This is where marketers could combine hashtags with vanity URLs. Back to the Wolverine Movie example, if the marketers behind the campaign also developed a tiny URL service (not tough to do) around wolv.mov they could reach out to the users discussing the campaign and link back to different areas of the site using the hashtag tiny URL (e.g. wolv.mov/vid).
Using this method, Wolverine’s marketers could track mentions of the campaign across multiple online media, the number of visitors who visit the website from the campaign, and the impact of reaching out to brand ambassadors using tiny URLs.