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. 

Graham Charlton

Published 8 November, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (5)




The edge between Direct Response and Branding Marketing is fading away.

Direct response campaigns can obviously lead to a better notoriety as they generate brand exposure. Branding campaigns nearly always include Call to Action.

over 7 years ago


George Rosier, Product Manager at Spark New Zealand

Be interesting to know what the percentage is with radio ads, as I'd bet it's way lower than print or TV. This is a shame, since at one of my last employers we found radio to be the 'hero' channel - especially when combined with web CTAs.

over 7 years ago


SEO Agency

This is a great post. I have been saying for years that companies who spout forth about optimising for SKY, BT and other household advertisers are really not at the top of their game because the URL is shown in paper and TV ads. Our clients, in the main, do not have that luxury so it much more difficult to get their presence felt. Great article.

over 7 years ago


New York Web Design

That's an interesting stat. I'm surprised it's not more. Although it is more than half. I am also interested to see of that 65%,, what percentage are using social media links as the url. That would be a trend to follow.

over 7 years ago


Joey @Sparksheet

I remember seeing a chart the CMDC's 2010/11 Media Digest that print, magazines expecially, have the highest rates of triggering online search. Magazines are 1st, followed by broadcast TV and newspapers. This makes me wonder why 100% of ads don't include a URL. Is it that hard?

over 7 years ago

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