It is now common practice for brands to include URLs or search calls to action within TV ads to encourage viewers to go online and find out more.
Renault's current 'Megane Experiment' TV ad asks users to go online, though the execution wasn't perfect; the URL was too long, and related search terms didn't all lead to the correct page.
With this in mind, here are ten best practices to help brands tempt customers online and make the most of any leads...
Include a clear call to action on the ad
If you want to send users online, then you need a stand-out call to action on the ad, making it clear what users need to do when they head online. Brands could display a URL, ask users to search online for a particular phrase, or else advertise their Facebook page, which VW and others have done recently.
There are pros and cons; while a URL will lead users straight to a brand's website or landing page, search is most people's starting point on the web, so it may make sense to encourage them to search for a particular term, as this may be easier for consumers to remember than a URL.
However, this does carry the risk that competitors will hijack the search term, and siphon off some of the traffic.
Use a unique URL or search term
By using a not only a memorable but also unique URL or search term on the advert, this will increase the likelihood that people will enter the correct term into a search engine or browser bar.
It also makes it easier to bag the top spot on Google. Compare the Meerkat is a prime example of how to do this, and avoid having to bid for expensive keywords.
Unique URLs and search phrases also allow you to attribute an uplift in traffic, sales or registrations to the TV campaign and measure the performance of offline marketing activity.
Unique campaign name
Not every single person who views the ad will act on the prompt and enter the URL or selected search phrase, and may instead type what they remember from the ad into Google.
If the campaign has a unique name that comes across within the ad (like Compare the Meerkat) then people are more likely to recall this.
Does the URL or search phrase appear when typed into a search engine?
This is where the Megane campaign was flawed. Only by entering the exact URL displayed on the ad, or the phrase 'megane experiment' (with a space) does the landing page for the campaign appear, and only via a paid search ad in the case of the phrase.
In fact, the Econsultancy article on the campaign ranks higher than any page from Renault for the term. If you have failed to grab the URL (and related URLs), or to rank highly for the term, then you will need to spend money on paid search ads, otherwise much of the traffic generated by the TV ad will have been wasted.
Landing page must match expectations
What brought me the visitor to the landing page? Make sure it’s consistent with what they find on the page.
Landing pages should match the promises made within the ads, and people should get what they expect when they arrive at the page.
So, in the case of Orange's 'More from Orange' campaign, customers arriving at the landing page get a range of offers and details of the benefits of being an Orange customer.
Make sure your landing page has a clear purpose
Once they have found the landing page from the TV ad, what do you want your visitor to do?
Have a clear goal in mind; this might be a one-off sale, the collection of their email address, brand familiarisation, booking a test drive etc.
Unless you know precisely what you want to achieve, you can’t be confident that you’re driving that end result with your page.
Clear calls to action on landing page
Whatever the purpose of the landing page is, it should be unmistakably clear to visitors. Litter your landing page with calls to action and make it simple for people to do what you want. People online are inherently apathetic and the slightest barrier to sale will cost you customers.
In the case of the Renault Megane landing page, there us no clear call to action to book a test drive, or to see some more photos or technical specs of the car. This only appears after the 11 minute video has finished.
Add sharing options
If you have created a great TV ad and attracted visitors to your landing page, make it easy for them to share it with others, and extend the reach of your campaign for free.
Add links to allow users to easily share the content with friends via email or social media sites. On this Compare the Market landing page, all bases are covered:
Don’t ask too much
If you are asking people to submit their details or sign up for a test drive, then make the process as smooth as possible.
Asking for too much information at this stage risks frightening them off and wasting the investment you made getting them there.
Don’t drive people away by asking for anything you don’t actually need.
Provide a range of contact options for visitors
You may have created the perfect landing page, but some people will still not respond, so give them options.
Provide a clear phone number, call back or live chat option in case they prefer to purchase in this way, and provide links so they can browse the rest of your website.
These are just ten suggestions, let me know below if I've missed anything...