Online marketing fail from people who really should know better: why say “search for…” in an advert?

Why do the agencies that produce glossy TV adverts always sign off with “search for name of company” instead of “go to”?

It strikes me as absolutely pointless and clueless: why deliberately expose yourself to the vagaries of the search engines – set yourself up as a hostage to fortune, because as everyone in online marketing knows, the search engines can – and will – blacklist you at the slightest hint of black-hat techniques.

Why publicise a call to action that allow for any possibility whatsoever of your site not being found? – why expose yourself to the chance that a competitor will decide to indulge in a little guerilla marketing and pay to be number 1 for that search term and steal all of your traffic?

And then it came to me: it is yet another ploy by the large agencies to try and keep customers spending money with them.  If they control a companies search engine optimisation activity and also their paid search adverts and tell people to search for their company in TV adverts they are justifying their budgets. They can report back to their clients their search engine success – that so many thousand people are searching for this specific key term and finding the site – without mentioning that this was the only way to visit the site that was included in a national TV advert!

And it means they can tell their clients that if they get dropped for their online marketing then the adverts will also be worthless as the call to action will no longer work.


Online, digital and social media marketing expert in Birmingham