Making Impact online

A number of successful campaigns carried out by Impact Traffic challenges negative views about online marketing.

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By  David Ingham Published  July 26, 2001

Pepsi and Amr Diab|~||~||~|So you think online marketing doesn’t work? Perhaps the results of work carried out recently by Impact Traffic will make you think again.

One of the interactive agency’s most spectacular recent successes was a campaign that it carried out on behalf of its client Pepsi. It started when the soft drinks giant was all set to kick off a new promotion involving the latest video and song by Egyptian pop superstar, Amr Diab.

Simon Bond, business development director at Impact Traffic, suggested to Pepsi that it put the new music video online prior to its debut on television. By clicking on a link on carefully selected consumer sites, users would be able to download the video to their PCs.

Pepsi agreed and the video was posted on arabia.com and maktoob.com five days prior to the TV launch, which probably makes Pepsi the first company in the Middle East to debut an advertising campaign online. Users were directed towards the Amr Diab video through banner adverts and pop-up boxes placed on the sites, and through 1.25 million HTML e-mails sent to both sites’ user databases.

Pepsi’s expectations for the campaign were initially modest. “The client said it would be happy if it got 20,000 people downloading the advert,” says Bond.

The results reported by Impact Traffic were fairly staggering. The initial click-through rate on pop-ups and banners was 14% and an amazing 45% on the HTML e-mails. Those click-throughs resulted in a staggering 250,000 downloads in the few days prior to the TV launch. By comparison, a similar Pepsi campaign in the UK that used Robbie Williams attracted only 40,000 downloads.

Bond believes the exercise shows that online campaigns can be successful if well thought about and users are offered something appealing. “The cost per acquisition was $0.01, which just shows that the Internet is a very powerful medium and, if you use it effectively, can be very cheap,” he says. Pepsi Middle East’s Faisal Farid says that the company now feels, “encouraged to continue our investment in online marketing.”
||**||Database marketing|~||~||~|
In this particular example, Pepsi and Impact Traffic weren’t trying to carry out a database building exercise, and asked users only for their names and e-mail addresses. The campaign was really intended as a generic branding exercise and a ‘testing of the waters’ ahead of the launch of Pepsi’s new regional site.

Bond agrees that the click-through rates may well have been lower had Pepsi asked users to submit more personal data. In which case, he says, users must be offered an incentive to submit that data, which brings us to another Impact Traffic client, Adidas.

Since the launch of www.adidas.co.ae last November, Impact Traffic has done a number of online campaigns for the sports apparel king. One of the highlights was a competition to give away a pair of Kobe Bryant sports shoes (Bryant is a US basketball star.)

That competition generated responses from 50,000 individuals, whose details have all gone into a database kept by Adidas Middle East. Bond says that this is the largest customer database of any regional Adidas operation in the world.

Adidas also knows, through data extracted online, that 35,000 of these people like football. So, next time Adidas launches a David Beckham or Zinedine Zidane product, it can tell 35,000 people about it for the cost of an e-mail shot. “This shows that the Middle East is a developing business environment and that there is a huge benefit from investing in the Internet,” argues Bond.

Bond himself arrived in the region late last year and admits that interest in online marketing was then negligible. However, business has grown enormously since then, driven in large part, he says, by Emirates Airlines, an Impact Traffic client.

Emirates spends extensively on online marketing, investing in its own sites and running data capture exercises through third party sites. It has also offered online ticketing for some time. “Because Emirates has been our major client, we’ve been able to use that success as a case study for all our other clients,” explains Bond.

The key to an online campaign, he believes, is to come up with innovative ideas that encourage users to click-through and enter their details into the site. Those individuals can then be marketed to directly and the cost of capturing their details has been low.

Bond also argues that this way of marketing to people is not intrusive because they have entered details voluntarily. “In the case of Adidas, these kids are interested in the products and want to be kept up to date,” he says.||**||

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