Click-Through Rate Soars With Promotion

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Capitol Records Inc. will finish an online campaign this week promoting alternative rock band Everclear's latest album, "Learning How To Smile," that generated a 45 percent click-through rate.


The six-week campaign uses a so-called ViBE graphic, essentially a miniature Web site that can be placed on other sites containing links to exclusive content at Everclear's site. Links on all of the ViBEs change automatically each week to reflect that week's stage of the promotion.


The ViBE -- developed by iMedium, an interactive technology developer in Wayne, PA -- initially was distributed to 300 fan, radio station and retail sites. Capitol also included a link to the ViBE in an e-mail newsletter to an Everclear fan list of 27,000 e-mail addresses. Fans who put the graphic on their sites got six weeks of exclusive Everclear content.


Capitol also sent the ViBE to entertainment sites, including Entertaindom, Windows Media, Liquid Audio and Broadcast.com, for wider reach. To further promote the ViBE, Capitol posted its availability on music news groups, clubs and bulletin boards.


Forty-five percent of people who saw the ViBE clicked on some part of it, Capitol said. The majority clicked on three to five items and returned later for the latest content, creating a high degree of viewer engagement.


The ViBE was served more than 22,000 times as of mid-July and drew more than 184,000 impressions, up from 6,931 ViBEs served in the campaign's first week.


"We're giving fans the ability to add exclusive videos and downloads to their sites quickly and easily, which gives them great content and increases stickiness," said Robin Bechtel, director of new media at Capitol Records.


The ViBE also features viral "send this to a friend" and "host this on your site" messages to encourage pass-along. People also are encouraged to join the band's e-mail list for free updates directly on the ViBE.


During the campaign's first four weeks leading up to the album's release, the ViBE's content included a free download of the lead song, a new Everclear video channel, Everclear's entire video library, a listening party of the album sponsored by Broadcast.com and Yahoo, an interview and a special live performance.


The fifth week featured "Amazingmail" postcards, adding an important offline viral component to the campaign. Fans could select photos of the album cover and a band photo shoot to have printed onto postcards. Fans could have three postcards with personalized messages delivered by the U.S. Postal Service for free. Recipients, in turn, could send three cards to their friends for free.


The final week of the campaign features an Everclear radio show hosted by Chris Douridas of America Online's leading music site, Spinner.com. A repeat mailing is sent to the Everclear e-mail list each time the ViBE links were updated.


"From what we've spent to design the ViBE and create content for each section, the costs have been extremely low for the results generated," Bechtel said, although she would not release a dollar figure. "Placing an ad in a magazine, you can't hear the music or watch the interviews, and this gives the fans a chance to help promote the album as well."
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