The first ad after the Super Bowl kickoff ended simply with #makeitplatinum. No website, no Facebook, just a hashtag meant to facilitate a conversation about that particular ad at that moment. With over 10,000 tweets per second during the Super Bowl, it’s clear why some marketers choose this call to action as a strategy of context and immediacy. Yes – the goal is for you to know about the new product and to buy it, but you weren’t leaving your TV to do so then. Like so many, I was on my couch, on Twitter. So in the journey you take before the purchasing decision, the short term goal is to whip up buzz.
At the Ad Council, the question of what online property to drive to comes up often. So when the world’s biggest advertising show was unfolding, I kept a log of the call to actions to spot any themes and consistencies. In terms of variety it was across the board – one ad even drove to a url that then redirected to a YouTube page. Some large brands ended only with their logo. It was clear that the end frame decision is based on the product, goals and strategy, like any good marketing plan should be. So here’s my guess on what they were thinking and their strategies.
Everything Over Time – The beverage industry has the luxury of placing multiple ads, therefore they took advantage and sent everyone everywhere. Also some of their ads relied on creating a feeling with no online call to action. For example, Budweiser ran the gamut. They had iconic nostalgic ads with no call to action, just their logo. They also introduced a new product “Bud Platinum” and gave a Twitter hashtag. And then an ad for Bud Light with celebrities that drove to Facebook. Finally, there was a cause marketing initiative that starred an adorable shelter pet dog, drove to the Facebook page, fan-gated users and incentivized the “like” by donating a dollar to an animal shelter each time. WOW, they really did it all. Maybe the lesson here is when you have a lot of time and money, cover everything.
Facebook Only – The movie industry seems to agree that Facebook is the place for them. Which makes sense, as they rely heavily on reviews and word of mouth to get people to the theater. The ticket transaction itself can be handled by sites such as Fandango.
Website url Only – Car companies favored good old fashion website urls. They have the task of facilitating a huge purchase, therefore in depth information about the product and flashy, customized ways of presenting the product are needed. This is what websites do best.
Website url with /Something – This strategy perplexes me at times. It works if you are at the top of the search results page with all the keywords in the url. Otherwise you are at the mercy of the consumer to remember the long url and type it in directly and correctly into the browser window. I understand the intention is to get people directly to specific content. I also surmise it’s the marketer’s attempt to measure the effectiveness of their ads by how much traffic it produced. But when I took a break during the exciting game to follow the link, I could only remember to search “Sketchers Go Run” (the url was www.sketchers.com/gorun) which didn’t come up first in search results, and then I was out. (This morning it seems they are higher up, but see what happens when you rely on the consumer).
Text Short Code – I saw this once but it was an interesting use. The incentive was to text a word to a number to enter to win a million dollars. This shows that when you have a huge incentive you can try to grow your text list. Which is becoming very valuable as it’s the only unsaturated frontier.
Everything at Once – A few brands only had one ad and decided to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks — the url, and Facebook and Twitter icons. This was a cluttered scene and shows me that they are going to let me decide how I want to engage. But as a marketer myself, I think I should be making those decisions.
Then other brands just seemed confused and therefore embarrassed themselves. I don’t know what offended me more in the Go Daddy ads, the objectification of women or the QR code. Twitter was on fire with jokes about where that QR code would take you.
If resources weren’t a worry, I would use the Budweiser strategy. Of course, I especially enjoyed Weego and from the looks of the wrap –ups this morning, social good efforts paid off once again.
Since us nonprofits have to think about resources, I think a CTA that is focused, easy and appropriate is best. Think of the main action you want consumers to ultimately take and the micro-actions that is the road to getting them there. If you think buzz and WOM is key, maybe Twitter or Facebook is the place for you. If you are fundraising and need to facilitate transactions or depending on a deeper engagement with a product or content, think of your website’s ability to deliver.
Or it could be a combo of ramping up conversations on social media and then driving to the site. Whatever the strategy, it has to be clear and thought out on your end, or else it will show in the end frame.