Watch what happens to your web traffic when your TV ad airs

Have you ever wondered what impact a TV ad has on a website when it airs?

I don’t mean overall impact, such as an increase in brand awareness or revenue. I mean the IMMEDIATE impact.

As in, if my advert appears on TV right now, what happens on the website?

Let’s find out

The introduction of Realtime into Google Analytics was a wondrous thing for digital marketers. It provides an opportunity to get a feeling for what is happening right now on a website, without having to rely on day old data. It can be very exciting (and a little mesmerising).

When, my previous employer, ran a new TV campaign in January 2013 it presented a perfect opportunity to answer my question of ‘what happens next?

At 9.45 pm on Sunday 6th January, one of our adverts appeared in the commercial break of the popular drama, Mr Selfridge, on ITV1 (SouthEast & Midwest regions only). Using video capture software, I recorded the Realtime page of our Google Analytics account as the TV ad played and for the 4.5 minutes afterwards.

So what happened?

As the TV advert aired

TV impact on web traffic - at the start

When the advert started there were 1,574 people on the website at that very moment. 51% of these visitors were New and 49% were Returning (had used the site before).

Within seconds of the brand name being mentioned and the website URL appearing at the end of the advertisement, the number of people on the site started to rise.

1 minute after

TV impact on web traffic - after 1 minute

After a little over 1 minute the number really started to climb. I suspect that is how long it takes people to reach for their mobile devices or laptops and type in the URL or conduct a search. At the same time, the split had shifted to 55% New visitors versus 45% Returning visitors.

2 minutes after

TV impact on web traffic - after 2 minutes

About 2 minutes after the ad finished the number of active visitors had increased about 1/3 on the starting figure to 2,084. At that point the split had shifted to 57% New visitors versus 43% Returning visitors.

3 minutes after

TV impact on web traffic - after 3 minutes

The visitor numbers peaked at about 3 minutes after the ad ended, hitting 2,143 active visitors. The visitor split was 58% New visitors versus 42% Returning visitors. By this point the programme was back on and numbers started to settle back down again.


It’s worth mentioning that this was just one ad slot on a Sunday night early in the campaign and isn’t necessarily reflective of the campaign as a whole. However, it does provide some interesting observations:

  • TV advertising drives people to your website. A no brainer really, but nice to see it works.
  • The speed at which people started visiting the site supports the notion of increased adoption of ‘dual screening’ – people using their mobile devices (or laptops) whilst watching TV.
  • TV advertising attracts new users to your site (evidenced by the New/Returning split change), as well as bringing back previous users.

The campaign itself was a great success, breaking records across a range of metrics including visitors and job applications. It also massively helped shift awareness of the Jobsite brand. When we started TV advertising in 2008, awareness levels amongst jobseekers was only 31%, but rose to 68% by the end of the January 2013 campaign. It was equally as impressive with the recruiter audience, rising from 35% to 67%.

As a digital marketer, it’s rare to get an opportunity to do brand focused activity on such a large scale. It also takes some getting used to the ‘measurement’ systems used, such as TVRs, brand consideration, empathy and awareness,  so it’s great to be able to make use of our digital tools to make sense of the impact that offline activity can have.

I originally wrote this post for the corporate blog of Evenbase, the parent company of Jobsite. Following the closure of Evenbase, the article has been reproduced and updated here on my own blog – don’t want a good post go to waste ;)

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Posted in Business Performance, Videos

How to recover 52% of your abandoned shopping carts using email remarketing

Abandoned Shopping Carts

When the subject of conversion optimisation comes up, most of the talk is about on-page optimisation – utilising A/B or multi-variant tests to determine which headlines, calls to action, images or page layout persuades your visitor to take the necessary steps to reach their goal (and yours).

It’s not the only way, mind you. There are ways to increase your conversions using channels outside of your website.

Let me paint you a picture.

Your company sells car insurance and I’m shopping around for a new policy. I dread this point every year and in fact it’s often the reason why I just renew my policy even though I could get a better deal elsewhere. But this year is different. I’m going to find the best deal and it just so happens I’ve found it on your website. 

I’m pretty pleased, that didn’t take long. So I start to fill out your online application form. The smile on my face slowly begins to fade. Within five minutes it’s a full on scowl. So many questions! You’re asking for dates for this, policy numbers for that and… oh my word, is this really worth it to save £40???

Thing is, I know that every insurance website will ask me this. If I want the saving, I’m just going to have to go dig out the old paperwork so I can answer the questions. But I don’t have time right now, I’ll do it tomorrow…

Or not, as so often is the case. Read more ›

photo by: cdsessums
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Posted in Business Performance, Conversion Testing, Email Marketing

What a 3 year old can teach you about conversion rate optimisation

What a 3 year can teach you about conversion optimisation

We do like to make things complicated.

We see something simple and feel like its missing something. It’s been a while since we launched this, we should probably do an upgrade; customers expect new features; some bells and whistles would be nice.

Tell me, what couldn’t be improved with some extra bells and whistles??

Turns out an awful lot. If you’re in the business of driving action online, of increasing revenue or sign ups or downloads, then you should care a lot about providing a simple path to conversion.

Done well, changes to overly complicated pages and processes will help your conversions improve. Mess them up and you’ll find the arrow pointing in the wrong direction.

So how do you ‘de-bell’ and ‘anti-whistle’ your cluttered webpages?

It’s simple. Watch a small child playing with a jigsaw puzzle. Read more ›

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Posted in Business Performance, Conversion Testing

11 simple steps to scupper your social media strategy

scuppered social media

This far in you’d think brands would’ve started to figure out this social media malarky. There’s plenty of best practice advice available, and dare I say it, common sense should help. But still, there are plenty of examples of how brands shoot themselves in the foot with their social media strategy.

There’s no cookie cutter approach that fits all brands (and that includes your personal brand), but there are certain things you should try to avoid. Lets look at a few here:

1. Randomness as a strategy

Some accounts don’t seem to have any purpose. Social media is part of your comms strategy, whether you’re using it for customer service, promotion, or education. Therefore, like your PR, customer emails, or advertising, there should be a plan as to what you’re trying to achieve and the messaging you’re trying to convey. Sharing random articles, posting sporadic updates or only sharing your latest blog updates, is not an effective way of building an engaged community. Read more ›

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Posted in Uncategorized

How to avoid the #SocialFAIL

If you were on Twitter this weekend, you’ll likely have seen a couple of brands receiving considerable attention for tweets posted by their official accounts. Whilst management at Tesco Mobile may well be grinning today, the mood will likely be a little more uncomfortable in the offices of The Sun newspaper.

The Sun Showbiz account, live tweeting during Saturday’s episode of X Factor, made an ill judged attempt at being funny and topical by making a joke at the expense of beleaguered contestant Tamera Foster, who is alleged to have stolen make up from Boots. However, drawing missing child Madeleine McCann in to be the punch line of the joke drew the ire of tweeters on Saturday night.


It took nearly an hour and a half, but the account issued an apology for its mistake.

Read more ›

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Posted in Social Media

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