Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Best Practices for any Campaign

Burger King recently launched a TV ad that directed visitors to WhopperVirgins.com. I learned about this on AdAge.com which wote:

“What if you don't remember the exact Web address and Google it? You still better remember the domain name. While WhopperVirgins.com ranks first in Google for "whopper virgins," it's invisible when you omit the plural. “

AdAge writes further:

”This is a major missed opportunity. Google Trends shows that recently, the volume of searches for the singular and plural versions have been nearly equal. "Whopper virgin" searchers must either go to an intermediary site or refine their search. Why can't consumers 'have it their way' and get to Burger King's site even if they're off by a letter? This multimillion-dollar branding campaign could have covered all its bases with a $10,000 search marketing investment. As it stands now, Burger King risks frustrating consumers instead of serving up one whopper of a video.”

AdAge listed following three areas of neglect:


  • The domain: WhopperVirgin.com is a parked domain filled with ads for Burger King store listings, Virgin Mobile gifts, Virgin Atlantic flights, Virgin Islands vacations and Virgin Mary checks.

  • Search engine optimization: The microsite doesn't appear on the first three pages of Google results for "whopper virgin" searches.

  • Paid search: While reviewing Google's listings over several days, there hasn't been a search ad running on "whopper virgin" queries.


In addition to above another area which was partially neglected by Burger King was Web Analytics. I found two main issues with the web analytics


  1. Web Analytics Tool Implementation - This site did not have any web analytics code implemented on the landing page. However the video does start as soon as user lands on the site which then fires WebTrends code. With this implementation I am not sure if they are getting an referring site or search engine information.

  2. Data Analysis - Clearly Burger King is using web analytics tool. I am sure they were passing the web analytics reports around but I am assume that they were not doing any meaningful analysis. If they were doing any analysis at all they would have uncovered the SEO/SEM issues listed by AdAge.

  3. Simple keyword analysis using their web analytics tool would have helped them uncover these issues. (Lesson: If you are spending millions of dollars on the campaign you should also keep aside few thousands for deeper analysis. Just passing the reports around is not enough).
    It is very common to report on top 10 -20 keywords but these keywords alone don’t tell the whole story. Yes they can be good ego boosters but you have to look beyond top keywords and analyze the keyword that are either in the long tail or are not driving any traffic at all. Doing some basic analysis on search engine keywords would have shown them that they were not getting any traffic (or are getting very little traffic) from “Whopper Virgin” or “Burger King Virgin” keywords (I am sure there are more variations).

I hope Burger King learned its lesson and will be smarter next time they run campaign. (Note: All campaigns, offline or online end up having an impact on the site, search engines and online media)

Below are the 5 lessons that all marketers can learn from Burger King Campaign and apply to their own campaigns in the future:

  1. Search Engine Optimization - Make SEO an Integral Part of your any micro-sites and campaigns (offline or online).

  2. Paid Search - Plan to spend few thousand dollars from your campaign budget to SEM to augment or fill any gaps in SEO.

  3. Web Analytics Tool Implementation - Plan to spend few thousand dollars from your campaign on Web analytics tools (which they did). Make sure the tool is properly configured to capture the accurate data. As I mentioned above, it appeared that the site did not have any code on the landing page, which means they were missing a lot of data and hence not getting the whole picture. Conduct an accuracy audit of the tool implementation; it can potentially save you millions of dollars by providing you data beyond click-throughs.

  4. Data AnalysisAnalysis is different from reporting. Web Analytics tools and SEM reports just provide you a view into the data. You have to conduct a full analysis to understand what the data means and what actions to take to generate a higher ROI from your campaigns. Plan to conduct an analysis on all the data you collect from various tools. Learn from this analysis, it will tell you where you are wasting your money and what’s working for you. Use the insights gained from the analysis and take appropriate actions to improve your campaigns.

  5. Online Reputation Monitoring - Monitor news sites, Social Media (conversations/actions that happen away from your site) etc., look at what people are talking about your campaign and your brand. Learn from it and take appropriate actions. A simple tool like Google Alert can provide this to you this for free. I believe Burger King did pay attention to what was being talked about and as a result now you can see Burger King’s Paid Search campaign for “Whopper Virgin” and “Burger King Virgin” keywords.


Comments? Questions?

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3 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of the situation and recommendations for improvement.

    However I seriously doubt that BK or its agency had anything beyond 'generate noise' as the goal.

    Look at all the press coverage on the campaign - that's free coverage, baby!! (Place one check in the box for successful campaign!)

    Since there is no offer, no call to action - beyond visit the site and view other stories - further proof of the campaigns success will be aided/unaided awareness on the next brand tracker. And I bet that instrument is in market right now because there is a major campaign in market!

    Should there have been more attention to details? Yes - but only if the campaign was part of a longer term goal. But based on what this campaign - and prior BK campaigns - it appears that the 'goal' is to achieve projected Q4 sales numbers rather than [ex] 'propel BK to the leading provider of fast food dining for Americans between the age of 14 and 24'.

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  2. Wow. It's truly amazing how someone who spends that much money could be so careless about this stuff. It makes me wonder what is going to happen when all the big guys clue in that SEO is important - how hard will it be then to get rankings?

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  3. Very worthwhile suggestions. Anil. Very helpful to sm marketers in measurement.

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I would like to hear your comments and questions.