Typical sites choose a blend of interactive and traditional media-such as Web ad banners, house ads and TV commercials-and find ways to promote the site in on-air programming or editorial content. Nowadays, it's not unusual to see URLs on everything from magazine covers to billboards to TV shows.
MORE ABOUT MARS
Curious about life on Mars? If you didn't get your fill from the article in Time a few months ago, a pointer at the end of the article directed you to the "Life on Mars" Web site at http://www.time.com/
mars. And in the Letters column, a weekly teaser offers the reader various online options for venting opinions.
In partnership with CNN, Time also produces a political site called AllPolitics (http://www.allpolitics. com). Both partners run house ads in the magazine and on the cable station to promote the site. An AllPolitics banner and URL have been featured prominently in CNN station IDs during the presidential race.
But unless ads and promotions are specifically targeted, it can be very difficult to measure effectiveness of cross-media promotions.
"This is not an area where anyone's doing a lot of tracking," said Donna Hoffman, co-director of Project 2000, a five-year, sponsored research study at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.
Many companies are, however, turning up the heat in promoting to the converted: the audience online.
People, like Time, runs its URL (http://www.people.com) in editorial content. It launches a new series of ads created by Young & Rubicam, New York, this month.
Conde Nast Publications' new-media division, CondeNet, began a Web banner campaign for the fourth quarter to promote its Web sites Swoon (http://www.swoon.
com) and Epicurious (http://www.
epicurious.com). The campaign, created in-house and by Dot.Com, New York, was placed by Creative Media, San Francisco.
"This is the first online campaign that we've launched. Advertising through print media is the best way to build a brand, but what we're trying to do here is build traffic," said Tricia Viscardi, marketing director of CondeNet.
In addition, online promotion is easy to track when it is focused and narrowly targeted.
"We can test the effectiveness of each piece of creative," said Ms. Viscardi.
Most companies must operate on shoestring budgets to promote their sites. After all, despite its potential, the Web still attracts a relatively small population. According to a study conducted by Ms. Hoffman, only an estimated 11.5 million people in the U.S. ages 16 and over use the Web.
One exception is New Jersey Online (http://www.nj.com), a site affiliated with Advance Publication's three New Jersey newspapers-The Star-Ledger in Newark, The (Trenton) Times and The Jersey Journal in Jersey City-that launched a $3 million campaign in mid-September. Created by Romann & Tannenholz, New York, the promotion employed various outdoor media including transit and posters, as well as ads in the three Advance newspapers, The New York Times and online.
Entrepreneur launched its site in September with a five-day promotional launch "party" online with hourly and daily giveaway programs sponsored by Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Epson America, Iomega Corp. and United Airlines.
The ongoing campaign includes print advertising-in-house ads, regional publications and airline magazines-as well as TV and radio. But the majority of the budget, said New Media Manager Chuck Fuller, will be spent on online advertising.
There's no arguing that online promotion gets results. When People took a poll on its Web site prior to the annual "50 Most Beautiful People" issue, it received 200,000 responses in two weeks.
"It was wildly successful," said New Media Director Hala Makowska.
"Every time we run a game or something that people can truly interact with, our numbers soar. That always drives usage way up," said Ellen Kaye, VP-enterprises at Sci-Fi Channel's site, The Dominion (http://www.scifi.com), is promoted within programming on the channel and via advertising, created by New York-based Media Circus, on Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network and in the pages of the channel's magazine, Sci-Fi Entertainment.
On MSNBC, whose whole concept is a unique marriage between the TV and the Internet, anchors regularly refer their viewers to the MSNBC Web site (http://www.msnbc.com) for further details.
"The network is a key piece of promotion for us, but we're also doing more traditional Web-based advertising," said Scott Moore, director of business affairs for MSNBC.
Media companies are well-advised to look at all the opportunities available in-house to promote their online presences. They have the advantage over other content providers because they frequently possess multiple platforms for promotion.
"Savvy marketers are looking at their entire marketing portfolios," said Kate Delhagen, an analyst at Forrester Research. "And every marketer who wants to be in this game five years from now needs to have both on and offline plans."