David's Blog | Misc ramblings about things in general, work and technical items of interest.

Archive for February 2011



Evolution of URLs in Advertising

In watching television lately I realized that the URLs that advertisers are showing has again gone through a change, though this time much less subtle . Below is the evolution of web URLs in advertising that I recall.

Back in the dial-up days before or just after companies started to have their own web sites, you’d often see the following in ads:
AOL Keyword xxxxxx

As companies got their own web sites up and running, they replaced or added to the AOL keyword info with their own:

It didn’t take too long before the http:// was dropped and advertisers showed:

Then next change was dropping www and showing the more abbreviated:

And what I am noticing now is a rather drastic change and looks like:

Why would a company replace their own site URL in advertising with Facebook? ¬†Well the most obvious reason is that when someone visits their site, depending on the company, the site could primarily be for marketing and there’s no obvious way to stay in contact with the visitor (customer). In other words, no stickiness. It is up to the individual site visitor to come back on their own. But if a company has a presence on Facebook, a simple single click to “like” the site and the company can now push info to your Facebook pages and continue to market to you. That is as long as the communication is relevant and doesn’t occur too frequently. I have “liked” sites and then “unliked” them when the info they were pushing to me was excessive or no longer relevant.

I have used RSS feeds for a long time to get a similar benefit, though less company specific. I can’t visit 100 sites every day to see if they have anything new worth being aware of, so RSS feeds allowed me to get alerted to the info when it was published. RSS feeds could stack up and if I didn’t get to it quickly it was still available. Unless someone is on Facebook all day or has very few “friends” the info pushed to you will quickly overflow the initial page or two and I doubt folks are scrolling back a day or more to see what they missed. Are companies figuring out when their audience is most online on Facebook and post messages then in hopes the largest audience will see it before it scrolls off their feed?

I wonder what comes after facebook.com/somesite?

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