Outdoor advertising may as well be blank, for all the good it does for online firms

Outdoor advertising may as well be blank, for all the good it does for online firms

Advertising executives are failing their customers it seems. New research shows that people want to find out more about the products and services being advertised, but those pesky ad designers are not helping them do it. The study looked at outdoor advertising, such as posters. People who saw the adverts were frequently inspired enough to want to find out more – so clearly the advert appeared to have done its job. In fact, 50% of people who look at posters or other forms of outdoor advertising would like to use the Internet to get more information about the item being advertised.

Yet, most of the adverts fail to have a website address on them. Equally, the adverts do not have interactive features, such as Bluetooth capabilities, which could then beam extra information direct to the phones of people looking at the ads. Indeed, 72% of people in the study said they wanted better “take-away” reminders of the adverts they saw outdoors.

One of the difficulties appears to be website addresses that are difficult to recall, when back at a PC. Or those addresses do not lead to information about the product advertised, instead merely leading to a “home page”. It’s an issue which I wrote about a year ago, when I demonstrated that newspaper adverts failed to provide the right kind of links that would make money. Here we are, a whole 12 months later and the advertising industry is still failing to properly integrate offline and online. And, this new research on poster advertising shows that this is precisely what viewers of adverts want to happen. They want advertisers to properly connect their offline ads with relevant online information; yet most advertisers are failing that, rather basic, requirement.

If you use offline promotion of any kind – adverts, stickers, postcards, brochures, leaflets, handouts, anything that’s printed or spoken “word of mouth” – then it needs to achieve two things:

  1. It must be easily recalled; people don’t always carry notebooks around with them, or pens. If the web address you provide in your offline advertising is easily recalled, you avoid people forgetting it.
  2. The web address you provide must go DIRECT to the topic of the advert, not to some generic page, where people have to waste time trying to find the item that interests them

Far too many advertisements and other promotional items merely direct people to the home page, which reduces the impact of the advert. If you are using any kind of offline advertising or promotion, make sure that the website addresses you use are easy to recall and they point to specific items of content. Otherwise you will be reducing your chances of making money. And, as this new study shows, people now expect relevant and useful domain names in print adverts – and a degree of interactivity. If you are still merely sending people to your home page, you are missing out on significant amounts of targeted traffic from people who could spend money with you online.

And if you use an advertising agency – consider them carefully. This latest study is confirmation that the ad industry is still not connecting the offline with the online. Integrating, they are not – and that is certainly not helping you make money. The creative people in the advertising world are not thinking creatively enough it seems.

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