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In Offline Ads, Search Beats Out The URL

Josh Catone noticed a Special K cereal commercial that urged consumers to search for the brand's name on Yahoo--and thought that it was odd that the company didn't end the ad with a plug for the actual Web site. "Has searching really become so natural that it is more effective to tell people to search for your site than it is to tell them to visit directly?" he wondered.

His research found that for some brands, search is much more effective at driving traffic than a URL. For example, 7 out of the 10 fastest rising search terms on Google in 2007 were for queries like "amazon" or "myspace," where just adding a ".com" to the word in the navigation bar would have brought the user to the correct site. These navigational searches, as they're called, make up 17% of all searches overall, according to Compete.

In the aftermath of Special K's campaign, almost two-thirds of all traffic to the domain came from search, with 53% of the search traffic coming from Yahoo--so it seems that the promotion was highly effective.



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