by Danny Meadows-Klue
The web can be a powerful way of supporting television and outdoor advertising campaigns because it offers greater depth and engagement. The tactic of ‘drive to web’ is one of the most common ways the internet is integrated into advertising campaigns. Television commercials, outdoor media and press advertising call out the phrase ‘go online for more’, because brand websites can have limitless depth and richness – a volume of information that would be impossible to fit into those classic channels directly.
Why drive to web works for high-ticket items
This tactic allows marketers to achieve several benefits. Their brand websites can:
- Reinforce the message a consumer is exposed to through television and other classic channels
- Take the consumer deeper on the journey of discovering a brand’s story
- Achieve activation through consumer participation, maybe using the website as a way of gaining email addresses and filtered leads
For high ticket items like a car, home or a new job, the web has become an indispensable tool for consumers, giving access to the right information to let them make an effective purchase decision. This technique was developed by online marketers in the late 90s and has become one of the foundations for the use of the web among those sectors.
Why drive to web works for low-ticket items
But the model of drive to web is no longer confined to items where the consumer needs to be online to make an effective purchase decision. For any consumer package good – from a bar of soap to a soft drink, ‘drive to web’ can work brilliantly. The trick is making sure there’s a really strong reason for the consumer to act and a strong benefit when they get there.
Typically consumer package goods brands can benefit by:
- Boosting brand image through engagement on the brand website or webspace
- Recruiting consumers into relationship marketing programmes to maintain ongoing dialogue with medium and high value consumers
- Creating discussion about the brand by providing social currency – ideas and content that generates discussion between consumers
Getting the marketing model right
In markets where the majority of people do not have access to the internet, or where their volume of use of the internet is still small, the model for how the web fits with other channels can be quite different from its role in the technically advanced markets of Europe, the Far East and North America. In those countries online advertising can sit alongside television and other classic channels as simply another consumer touchpoint.
But because different markets and countries are at different stages of adopting web technology, there’s no single model that can work for any one sector worldwide, or all sectors within any one country.
Rethinking audience reach
The reach of online can be deceptive unless looked at through the eyes of an experienced digital marketer. For example, in Mexico where pay-TV has a reach of only about 45%, the combined reach with TV can push the cross media potential to 70%. With print channels there’s a similar pattern: a 69% reach of newspapers and magazines leaps to 83% when the internet is added.
The effect is even more pronounced among the 18-34s, so for brands trying to reach those consumers the web is becoming indispensable in large parts of Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, as well as the technologically more advanced markets.
Delivering more impact than classic media
All media impacts are not equal. Because the web is a ‘lean forward’ medium, it means the channel has even greater impact. When consumers are engaged with content they are alert and leaning into the media channel, taking in and processing messages, taking part in the activity – quite a contrast to television or radio. This is one of the reasons why the impact of marketing through digital channels can be so strong.
There’s a big cultural shift in the perception of the roles different media channels play and some brands still hold back from doing anything more than minor tests in online media. Yet consumers are increasingly tuning out of other media – zapping between channels during the television commercial breaks and not reading newspapers or magazines the way the previous generation did.