Traditional Measurement Meets New Fangled Ad Format

You’ve had their radio jingle stuck in your head since you were twelve. And the owner of the company has been sporting the same dowdy suit in his TV ads since the ‘70s.

Leave it to small, regional advertisers to get stuck in their ways. So, what does it take to convince them to advertise online? Proof and lots of it.

When a longtime Washington D.C.-area diamond retailer (we’ll call it Rocks “R” Us) that normally relied heavily on radio spots decided to venture online, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive showed the hesitant advertiser that change can be a good thing.

The Objective

Knowing that measurement was extremely important, the site worked closely with the client, referencing site user survey responses to develop metrics and do testing before launch. Rocks “R” Us planned to launch campaigns before Christmas and prior to Valentine’s Day, and had some timely goals in mind: to drive appointments to retail outlets, achieve top-of-mind status among those considering a diamond purchase, and meet an advertising-to-sales ratio.

The Targeting

The typical diamond buyers were targeted; i.e. men. However, the broad male demographic was segmented into two groups, and treated differently as indicated by creative, media placement and ad format.

The Creative

Older, more established males (buying for their wives, of course) called for a refined billboard campaign that ran in washingtonpost.com’s Business section. The younger, marriage-proposal prone guys were served “roadblock” style ads which exclusively branded the sports section of the site. This younger crowd, perhaps more receptive to thrilling stimuli, was also targeted with floating ads that used Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive’s proprietary technology and usually landed within a skyscraper placement. All ads were developed in-house by the publisher.

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive’s director of creative and client services, Deborah Correa, contends that when formats are varied depending on campaign goals and demographic targets, users and advertisers have a better combined experience.

Context drives the format choice. According to Correa, “It’s a strategy of contextual relevance; we make the creative work with it.”

The Results

Rocks “R” Us may have been comfortable with new-fangled ad formats, but when it came to measurement, old fashioned polling was the gauge of choice. The company has been doing in-store surveys for years, and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive worked with the advertiser to develop a survey to collect tangible, real-people responses. Among the promising results:

  • 65% of the client’s customers already visit washingtonpost.com, while 55% visit the site 1–5 times per week.
  • Nearly 20% of the client’s customers recalled seeing a Rocks “R” Us ad on washingtonpost.com during the three week in-store survey period.
  • 8.7% of those who saw the ad on washingtonpost.com said it influenced their decision to make an appointment.
  • On average, washingtonpost.com delivered 3–4 appointment leads per day, and as many as 12 in one day.
  • The leads generated a higher closure rate (approximately 80%) and higher dollar volume per sale than radio advertising.

    The advertiser must have been convinced. This year’s pre-Christmas campaign for the jewel purveyor will go live on washingtonpost.com soon.

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