Not that long ago “offline” brands were thought to be dinosaurs unable to adapt to the digital world. Strong brands such as Kodak and Lego were losing market-share for their inability to bridge the digital divide. They were accused of being passive and lacking interactivity. They only communicated one way and in the digital age, that was not the preferred way. Media companies such as newspapers, magazines and television were also lumped into the category of pre-digital brands headed for the dustbin. But now it turns out that websites with an offline brand generate more revenue than the sites without an offline presence.
So says Stephen Walker of Perfect Market Analytics who compared the top 100 most trafficked media websites to the top 100 blogging sites that were unlikely to have an offline presence. Offline media brands had about 150 million page views per month, while the online-only brands had 25 million page views per month. Whether people are shopping for clothes, looking for entertainment or looking for news, they may be more likely to search the web for companies they already know and love. They’ve built a level of trust in a brand that they’ve seen in existence. And even if the same products are available elsewhere, customers and advertisers go with the one they trust.
Walker notes that brands matter when monetizing “eyeballs” or web traffic. Offline brands have a definite advantage and are able to generate more revenue per thousand page impressions. Additionally, offline brands are also making money, well, off line. Such brands can capitalize on their strength by promoting offline products on their websites, using paid online search and creating buzz through social networking. Meanwhile, Yahoo and Amazon continue to strengthen their brands without an offline presence. For every rule there’s an exception – so maybe there shouldn’t be any rules.
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