*Office.com Buys a Boost in Traffic for $30 Million

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Office.com made a splash in the advertising and marketing world by announcing a major marketing campaign earlier this year on Jan. 31, designed to build its brand among small- to medium-size business owners in 150 industries.


Months later, the site is reporting its campaign -- which has been revealed to cost $30 million for its yearlong run -- is creating a stampede of visitors to the site.


According to Office.com's early results, unique visitors and page views increased 350 percent during the campaign's first month. This one-week total was the site's goal for the entire month.


By surveying users both online and offline, the site has found that more than 60 percent of this traffic comes as a result of its 30-second television commercials. "The majority, at least six out of 10 visitors, came from TV," said Stephanie Fierman, vice president of marketing at Office.com, New York. "TV is generating unbelievable amounts of traffic."


The site purchased spots featuring its tag line "the new way to work" during prime time, late night and news broadcasts in 27 markets that cover 75 percent of its target audience. The site also purchased a number of national cable spots on CNN, MSNBC and A&E Television.


While a substantial number of these visitors are not taking the time to register and shop within the site's e-commerce section, it is boosting Office.com's ad impressions by 60 percent. This is helping to generate revenue from those advertising on the site such as MasterCard, Ameritrade and Hoover's Online.


"Our primary source of revenue today and for the year [is selling advertising] until we move to a new commerce platform," said Fierman. "We will have a better balance between ad revenue and e-commerce in the future."


The other aspects of the marketing campaign include print ads in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and consumer and trade publications. The site is also running radio and outdoor advertisements in key target markets. "Radio appears to be pulling. I don't have as tight a handle on print. Outdoor is impossible to measure, it's more of a teaser media," said Fierman.


Online advertising began in the fourth quarter of last year and will continue to run throughout the year. It has been a success drawing click-throughs 50 percent to 100 percent higher than site estimations, said Fierman. "We're doing a better job of picking sites to advertise with. You don't need a whole lot of money to have a big impact online."


Office.com has been working with 24/7 Media to distribute its ads while also signing deals with Yahoo and Excite@Home.


The site surveys consumers regularly to find out if the campaign is raising awareness, the likelihood of visiting the site and the likelihood of purchasing.


Fierman has labeled it as a branding campaign. Future marketing efforts will be more targeted. "We're going to drill down into the media that can specifically reach people in the 150 different industries we are trying to reach," she said.


Cliff Freeman & Partners created the campaign. Office.com is a subsidiary of Winstar New Media Co. Inc. CBS Corp. purchased one-third of the site in exchange for $42 million in promotion across CBS properties.
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