More marketers are adopting an integrated approach to their campaigns, with the majority now including web addresses in offline ads to drive customers to a website. 

Nominet’s Domain Name Industry report also found that consumers respond better to .uk web addresses than .com, with 80% preferring the local address. 

URLs in offline ads

  • While 65% of all UK print and television advertising now includes a web address, there is a disparity between print and TV.
  • 83% of print ads now feature a URL compared with just 61% of TV ads, perhaps a missed opportunity given the higher costs of TV advertising. 
  • Over a third of print and television adverts (35%) contain no website address at all. 
  • Within newspaper advertising, 86% of ads feature a web address, though there is a lower occurrence of web addresses in ads featured within supplements.

Effectiveness of URLs

Having spent money on airtime and print ads, it certainly makes sense to give customers the opportunity to visit a website, though using a URL is not the only tactic available. 

It can also be a waste of time if the URL is too hard to remember, or if brands haven’t made sure that customers will find the correct site if they enter the partial URL or brand into a search engine.

For example, on Renault’s recent ‘Megane Experiment‘ campaign, unless users typed in the exact URL shown on the advert, the top result on Google would not take them to the intended landing page.

By using a unique URL that is memorable, it is more likely that people will enter the correct term into a search engine or browser bar, and it also makes it easier to get to the top of Google. Compare the Meerkat is a prime example of this. 

Alternatively, brands could use their already established homepage, and link to the campaign information from that page.  

Search calls to action

Another method is to do without URLs, and ask customers to enter a specific term when they head for a search engine.

Again, this requires some advance planning to ensure that the SEO work has been done, but a unique search term can be more memorable for customers, and since the majority are likely to use the search box rather than the browser bar, it can make more sense. 

Unique search calls to action can also help to attribute visits and sales to offline marketing activity, but brands need to look out for competitors bidding on these search terms.