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Friday, June 15, 2007 - First Search Marketing Ad on TV?

Watching Fast Money on CNBC tonight, I saw a search marketing TV ad. I've never seen a search marketing firm advertising on TV before. I wonder if this is a first? The ad is for a company called SendTec (don't know anything about them). The ad lists the domain which seems like a poor choice of a domain to use in a TV spot. Why not or something easy to remember like Anyway, the ad itself was pretty interesting. It was visually appealing and included two offers: a free SWOT analysis and a free guide about search engine marketing mistakes.

I suspect we'll hear more about SendTec as other search marketers notice their TV ad. Gotta give them credit. Will be interesting to see if this helps spread awareness of SEM (search engine marketing) to a wider audience. Searching for the domain, I came across this DMNews article that provides some details on what they call a DRTV (direct response television) advertising campaign.

Is this the first ever TV ad campaign for a search marketing firm? Anyone know anything about SendTec? What did you think of the ad itself?

BTW, if anyone from SendTec is checking the blogosphere for reactions to the campaign, can you explain the choice of domain name for the TV ad? Also, I'd be curious to know which domain experiences more direct navigation as a result of the TV ads: or How effective is the TV ad?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen the ad you're talking about. I thought it was just a bit ironic that search marketing experts would have to advertise on TV to find customers!

It raises the same questions that something like Google's purchase of YouTube raises. If Google, as the leading internet advertising company, couldn't use an internet marketing campaign to build Google Video into a leading site, but instead had to go out and buy the top internet video site (YouTube), exactly how effective is the internet for advertisers seeking to use it to build a "brand"?

The internet clearly works for advertisers focused on a "direct marketing" type campaign -- using search engine advertising to find customers is a perfect fit -- but I really think that it will be some time before the bulk of the advertising dollars (that being spend on "brand" building) starts flowing away from the traditional medias and to the internet.

I think to see an advertisement like that from SendTecNow on television demonstrates the point that traditional media advertising is not going to be supplanted by the internet anytime soon.

Sat Jun 16, 01:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Stephan said...

Any "search marketing" firm that has to use a subdomain as its online brand is on fire, no water in site, and a gasoline truck is parked in the driveway. No recognizable domain, no sale, no "appreciable marketing asset", buh bye. What a waste of cash. They should attend a domain conference and learn the winning rules of online control.

Sat Jun 16, 07:49:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Kyle M Brown said...

Internet advertising may never replace other more traditional mediums of advertisement.

I think, each mediums audience is different. Some potential SEO customers are not searching the web for SEO even though they may have a website or service that would do well online, because they don't even know what SEO is.

A good TV commercial explaining SEO makes sense for that type of customer.

The domain choice seems odd especially for a TV spot which was probably a few seconds long. Maybe the sub-domains were used for geo targeting and only shown to certain areas or time slots for tracking. Especially since the landing page is a redirect.

I think the YouTube acquisition was a wise move by Google to look forward and understand the need for diversification to help maintain its position and potential position on and off the Internet.

Sat Jun 16, 09:02:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Paul Soltoff, CEO said...

Everyday Search is increasingly capturing a growing segment of the overall ad spend. Just ask Google. Furthermore, metrics are getting more difficult to achieve for Search Engine advertisers. Hence, it’s now practical to tactically use TV to drive search engine marketing business development leads, given the ubiquitous nature of search, and the growing needs of advertisers in the marketplace. Using a unique URL, rather than our core URL also enables us to accurately separate activity from homogenized activity landing on our website. Furthermore, our proprietary tracking technology lets us track and optimize activity directly to the TV media day-part that drove it. FYI, appending URLs on the right side of the dot com doesn’t work. By a factor of over 90%, consumers don’t type sourcing to the right of the dot com. Today, it’s all about knowing which offline media source to buy and which to cancel in a world of multiple media channels.

Mon Jun 18, 11:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Paul (CEO from SendTec). Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do think it's a clever move to target business users via a TV ad. Also, I do understand the tracking issue. See the screenshot on this post where I ran a PPC experiment regarding URLs and a Super Bowl commercial.

I can't see people remembering "www DOT 12 DOT sendtecnow DOT com" when the ad itself mentions SendTec and Why not use a shorter domain like or - something short and easy to remember? I paused TV using my DVR and replayed the ad a few times. BTW, I think the advent of that type of technology helps convert the offline ad to an online lead.

Mon Jun 18, 12:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

I'm glad I've not disabled anonymous comments. I get some excellent analysis from anonymous. ;-)

I think it's clever of SendTec to differentiate themselves from other search marketing companies by advertising on TV. It appears as though the ad was tailored with a business audience in mind and that's where the ads are displayed. So, it's reasonably targeted.

Plus, many C-level execs might still be paying more attention to traditional media. Why not meet them where they are (watching business TV shows) to get them thinking about search marketing? In my view, SendTec has created more awareness for all search marketing firms.

Mon Jun 18, 12:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Stephan, I think it's clear that the choice of domain used in the ad was for tracking purposes. It's useful to track direct visits to separately from to assess the effectiveness of the offline ad campaign.

I wonder, though, if the extra domain will cause confusion. Will people understand what SendTec is vs SendTecNOW? I'd be curious to know which domain had a spike in direct navigation hits once the ad started running:


BTW, the fact that the landing page actually resolves to a domain further confuses the matter. That's odd.

Mon Jun 18, 12:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Richard said...

Yes, Kyle, I don't think online ads are going to replace offline ads anytime soon. Since so many people continue to consume offline ads, it makes sense for companies providing services for online ads to advertise offline.

I think Google purchased YouTube for future ad distribution. They bought future market share. Perhaps the premium they paid was too high, but as companies like Yahoo! continue to lose market share, it certainly appears to be a good move.

Mon Jun 18, 12:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Paul Soltoff, CEO said...

In terms of using prefix souce coding, such as 12.unique URL, we have found that over 50% of consumers will type them, and using our proprietary volumetric bursting technologies, along with data-base tracking cookies we can track virtually all activity properly typed, un-typed or even typed wrong) to the specific media source that generated it. For numerous clients and 100s of millions of actions we successfully use this important system to optimize media expenditures. Moreover, we have found there is no degradation of response. Additionally, should a consumer not type, or even type the prefix wrong they still land on the targeted linked website. Conversely, if they type a suffix source code (to the right side) of the dot com incorrectly, they end up on an error page, since no sub directory folder existed.

Mon Jun 18, 01:57:00 PM EDT  

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