Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Impact of TV on Search

What happens to intent when one broadcasts loudly?

Search and television advertising are often held out as the ends of the communication spectrum - personal and full of intent on one side vs. shouting from the largest platform possible on the other.   But sometimes we get to look at the intersection.  

The chart below is for search traffic from Google Trends for "Kaplan University" (a former client) over the past several years. 

 We see slow, organic growth for two years followed by a step change at the beginning of the third year (week 104 is Jan 2009) and another change at the beginning of this year (week 156).   What caused the increase?

My guess: TV

In January 2009 Kaplan launched the 1-month "Talent" (see below) campaign with two commercials around the idea that traditional education has failed today's students.  They reintroduced the campaign in January of this year for a 3-month run.    What's interesting is that the 2009 media burst lifted the search volume not only during the campaign, but also for the rest of the year.   While it's too early to tell what the impact in 2010 is, there are some clear questions for marketers and agencies:

1. How will we pay off the interest of a break-through branding campaign?
2. How can we take the essence of the spot into interactive, social and digital realms?
3. What content would best support this type of interaction?
4. What is the long term value of branding?
5. How and what do we measure beyond the end of the campaign?
6. When do we get rid of the silos? 

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