URL’s Are Totally Out

I notice a significant change in advertising, from train to television. The trend? No more printed URL’s. The replacement? Search boxes!1 With recommended search terms!

URL’s Are Totally Out

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. This post seems a bit misleading. You should cite the correct source for this….it reads like you are saying that you noticed the difference…when really it was

  2. When I was travelling in Asia I noticed that quite a lot. It makes a lot of sense too because people aren’t going to remember the entire URL (especially if your brand has a space in it… is it all one word? or with a dash?). Whereas if you have the right keyword search term for the product (or buy your way to get that search term) people are more likely to visit the website afterwards.

  3. I’ve also seen this in an ad for a video rental service here is Australia. The line at the bottom of the ad said something like ‘Google Q’.

    In fact I couldn’t remember the name of the company just now, but googled Q and there they were with an ad at the top of the result list.

  4. It’s interesting. AOL has been doing this forever using “keywords”. Portal sites were next on the bandwagon. A spot will instruct: “Visit ESPN.com, keyword Tourney” or “Visit ESPN.com, keyword Madness”.

    There a couple reasons this approach has value:
    1. From a usability perspective, we like to search for things. Somehow, it’s easier. I surprised by how often I see people Google for “CNN” and click the first link instead of just going to cnn.com. Amazing.
    2. From a marketing perspective, this is smart because the consumer sees it as beneficial (“I only have to remember a word instead of an address”) . The word marketers ask them to remember is a word the brand owns or a word that represents part of the brand essence. “Find out how UPS speed is helping the ’08 Olympic capture the gold at Olympics.com keyword ‘overnight’.” Looking to build some equity for Bud Select around “nightlife”? Instead of a URL for a promotion directing people to http://www.budselect.com/summer08/nightlife/ , direct them to the brand site and have the keyword ‘nightlife’ guide them to their most likely destination(s).

    Keywords, or “tags”, could also serve to unobtrusively unify multiple brand sites (if I’m on budlight.com and I enter the keyword for select or ultra, why not guide them to a current promotion or main brand site)?

    Of course, this isn’t rocket science. But search, as in “type in the word you think of and get a list of results” versus search, as in “browse around until you find what you’re looking for” is a simple, valuable marketing tool in the digital world. It’s the difference between combing the whole living room looking for a contact lens until you find it (if you find it) and simply typing “where is my contact lens” and getting an answer.

  5. In some ways the trend seems a bit silly – I am not convinced that it has a lot of benefit for users. It’s just a somewhat novel marketing idea (that in reality has been around for far too long). It’s like if in pre-Internet days we had local signs telling you to search your Yellow Pages/phone book for “cars” instead of just telling you the address (or how to get to) the car dealer in question.

    Advertise something people really WANT and we’ll somehow remember enough to find it. Just make your site SEO friendly so that we can find it by googling some sensible phrases.