Google AdWords: The David Letterman Effect

  |  January 25, 2005   |  Comments

A talk-show segment and an off-the-cuff quip, and a Google AdWords campaign is launched within minutes to reap the (measurable) results.

Did you see me? My 2.5 seconds of fame occurred on January 6 at 11:38:42 p.m. That's when my face, and then my elbow, appeared on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman." And believe it or not, it could affect your online advertising.

Dana is a "Late Show" intern. She's kind, very professional, and in charge of finding and organizing audience members who potentially will be included on the show's "Audience Show and Tell" segment. A friend of mine, Jennifer Klein had been in the audience at the show, where she showed Dana an old photo of herself, her face painted green, standing with Richard Nixon. That led to Jennifer's appearance on the show. I went along to the taping.

Nice, But What Does This Have to Do With Online Advertising?

During the segment with Letterman, Jennifer mentioned a national retailer at which she works part time. Letterman did a fantastic job improvising some questions and comments regarding the chain. The segment quickly turned humorous. It was not at all meant to plug the store, but some worthwhile information was conveyed.

After the show, I decided to run a test. As a bit of a Google AdWords expert, I quickly put up an AdWords ad to see if traffic could be directed to Jennifer's or the retailer's site. For keywords, I selected combinations of her name, the store's name, and "letterman" and "late show."

The results? The Letterman show segment did indeed generate keyword/search traffic on Google. According to national managers at the retail chain, the segment also generated traffic in stores across the country.

Must I Spell It Out?

Two aspects of this little story are worth mentioning. First, set up of the measurement "system" happened very quickly. Second, major advertising agencies do not do this!

At press time, if you typed "Miller Lite Referees" into Google's search box, you'd find many blog references to the beer maker's ads. But no URLs come up (at least on the first page of results) on which you could actually view the ads. WPP's Ogilvy & Mather produced the ad, but no one bothered to leverage the power of the Web to allow viewers to see the ads online if they searched for them. Yes, you can see the ads if you think to go to the beer maker's site, but that might not be a user's first thought. It wasn't mine.

How many times have people typed "Miller Lite Referees" into Google? Nobody knows. If such a tracking game had been set up, the folks at Ogilvy & Mather and, more important, at Miller Brewing would know. If companies must measure effectiveness of their advertisements, isn't this one easy way to get an idea?

It's Fast and Easy

The Internet allows you to very quickly react to events and change marketing strategies and tactics accordingly. You can purchase keywords in just a few minutes on Google's AdWords or Overture. You can send a press release to thousands of press outlets in under an hour. You can update your Web site to contain relevant new content in an afternoon or less.

All these things should allow you to react quickly to events, alter your marketing accordingly, and track results. By utilizing these methods, it's possible to track what your customers react to and understand what drives them to your site or store.

These days, when it's both easy and difficult to get the data you want, there are some simple things you can do to obtain information regarding your consumers. This will help you understand the effectiveness of your marketing, as was the case with the Letterman appearance or could've been the case with Miller Lite's Referees.

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Brian Teasley Brian Teasley is the leader of Teasley, a consultancy that helpsadvertisers, marketers and advertising agencies use data and analysis toimprove their marketing campaigns. Brian has over 14 years experience inengineering and marketing, and has worked for numerous Fortune 100companies. Brian also teaches a marketing course at New York University. Heholds a M.S. degree in Applied Statistics from Iowa State University and aBA in Mathematics and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from St. OlafCollege.

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