Picture this: You’re sitting in the car on your drive home from work, listening to your favorite talk radio show, when a commercial for your local car dealer comes on. They tell you about how now is the time to buy, they have all of your favorite models, and all of the greatest deals and at the end, the commercial just says “Call us today!”
Next scenario . You’re watching your team on Sunday, enjoying the game with a few buddies, when a commercial pops up for an electronics store. They’re having a huge sale, flat screen TVs, surround sound systems, you name it. The commercial ends and all it says is, “Visit our website to take advantage of these great offers”
Do these examples sound preposterous? Good, they’re supposed to. And yet, the very same ad agencies and multinational corporations who spend billions of dollars a year on advertising and would never think to run an ad without providing their customers with a phone number or a website URL, constantly run ads that include social media logos with no address on them.
Take this commercial for example, right around the 0:25 mark:
What do those logos underneath the $99 mean to anybody? The answer is absolutely nothing. Yes, if I really wanted to follow ADT on their social media channels, I could Google their Twitter handle or pop it into a Facebook search bar and eventually find them, but the two main points here are:
1. It creates an unnecessary barrier– If nothing else, you should put the URL on your advertising for the same reason why retailers accept credit cards, restaurants offer delivery, and car dealerships offer payment plans: it makes it as easy as possible for the customer to complete the desired action. Why are you ever going to put a barrier that makes it more difficult for your user to find you?
2. It makes your brand look arrogant– If you saw a commercial for a small, local establishment, call it Mike’s Auto Repairs, you would assume that they would need to put their URL on everything, because there might be 100 Mike’s Auto Repairs on Facebook and they want to ensure that you find the right one, and they make no assumptions about knowing who they are. But now look at a company like Anheuser-Busch. Probably the most well-recognized beer brand in the entire world and yet, on every single beer advertisement, whether it’s TV or print, you will see a URL spelled out leading to their social media channels. Would it be difficult for me to locate Bud Light on Facebook? No. Can I probably find Beck’s via a quick Twitter search? Yes. But that’s not the point: make no assumptions about your brand, how well-known you are, or about how recognizable you are to your audience. On a related note, never underestimate the laziness of the people who are trying to follow you.
Here are a few print ads I found of brands I’m sure you recognize, but who still recognize the importance of displaying their URLs to their audience: