The Web and Print Can Be Pals

I’m probably a bit old fashioned in that I subscribe to three newspapers which land on my driveway most days (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).    I find I can scan each paper and get the news I need in less time via hard copy then by clicking and scrolling with the online version.

While reading the Sunday NY Times, I noticed several things.  First is that expensive watches are advertised primarily on the inside front page (page 2) of the main section..  Don’t know why that is but it’s a pettern I’ve noticed.  Second, is that while every ad in the front section (except one small, reverse-type ad for Lumber Liquidators, includes the URL of the advertiser, in only two of the ads (2 of 27) does the URL list a subpage or identifyer of where the ad appeared.

Why is that wrong?  Two reasons:  First, one of the principles of marketing is to track where your business comes from.  If companies use only the URL of their home page in print ads, they have no idea how much traffic that ad drove to the website, so they don’t know how effective the ad was and if they got their “money’s worth” from it.  If I’m running the same ad in three publications, I need to know which one pulls the best.  So, my URL in the ad in the NY Times would be, while the same ad in the New York Post would end in /NYP.  Capiche?

Second reason:  Whenever possible you want to deliver people to a page on your website that is related to the ad or offer.  In Citibank’s ad for the Citi View mobile app, the URL is  Excellent.  At the other end of the spectrum is Tiffany & Co.’s ad for a $3995 diamond and platinum peace sign pendant. The URL shown? Maybe they think that if you can afford a piece of jewelry at four grand you’re smart enough to find it on their website.   I wouldn’t risk it if I we’re them.

Oh yeah, all this applies to B2B marketing as well.

I welcome your thoughts.

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  • Reply POST! August 17, 2009 at 8:22 am

    @spatially POST!: SR Post: The Web and Print Can Be Pals: I’m probably a bit old fashioned in that I subscribe to th..

  • Reply POST! August 17, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    @spatially POST!: SR Post: The Web and Print Can Be Pals: I’m probably a bit old fashioned in that I subscribe to th..

  • Reply sherry heyl August 17, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    The challenge with posting a url on a print ad is that, as of today at least, I can not simply click on the URL and go to the page you are directing me to. Since the web has been mainstream for more than a decade now, I think it would be safe to say that people have become somewhat sophisticated with going to a webpage. Since I saw the ad in print and wanted to go to the site, I might do so in a variety of ways.

    1. type the company name in google, since google is currently many people’s homepage.
    2. type in the url but leave out the /NYT, because I do not want to do extra work and I would know that I do not need those letters to find what I am looking for.

    So, the challenge is you will not get an accurate count of where the referral link came from EVEN if you did do as suggested above.

    Perhaps one way to overcome these challenges is to provide an incentive to go to a specific page or post a call to action that only NYT (fill in other print here) readers would know, similar to how Publix has a secret coupon in the AJC each week. You have to be an AJC subscriber to get the coupon.

    Hmmmm….this opens the door for some negotiations between the advertiser and the publisher too. “If I drive people to get your print paper because of exclusive specials I run in the paper than I should not have to pay so much for my ad…”


  • Reply keithfinger August 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Good points. No approach is perfect. Having an offer for specific subscribers will encourage them to enter the complete URL. If you were interested in CitiBank’s View mobile feature, would you enter the entire URL (/view) or not? You’ll get to the info more quickly if you do..

    Overall, today’s marketers need to be analytical and metric-driven. The more numbers you have for making decisions (which is the great thing about the web), the better your marketing will be. This touches on the issue of the company’s marketing dashboard, which I can discuss in another post.

  • Reply PR - Product Mgmt. September 4, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    The Web and Print Can Be Pals #postrank #prod_mgmt

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