Country’s Winter Olympic ad buy fails to earn gold

The nation’s tourism institute went all in with its $500,000 bet on NBC Universal networks and the Winter Olympics.

The idea was to get television viewers to look at the Web site of the institute, The institute also put money into advertising on various social networks, Google and Yahoo/Bing, it said Feb. 9.

The Olympics have come and gone, but the Alexa ranking of the institute’s Web site, which was 155,605th place in the world Feb. 10 has dropped to 162,701. In addition, the site has a 53 percent bounce rate. That means 54 percent of the people who visit the Web site leave after seeing one page.

Alexa uses a statistical method based on those Internet users who have an Alexa toolbar that notified the company whenever a browser enters a Web page. The system is not truly random, but the results at least give a good glimpse of Internet behavior mainly in the United States. The tourism institute was targeting the United States, it said at the time.

“The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors to this site and page views on this site over the past three months,” Alexa says. But with a $500,000 advertising buy, some upward movement could have been expected in the page rank.

The advertising campaign may have run into the problem of exciting content, that is the Olympics. Many advertisers prefer dull programming so their advertising stands out. There also were multiple sources for the Olympics, and the time zone was not attractive for live coverage.

The budget for the digital, social media and pay-per-click ads is $193,000 for an expected 62 million impressions, the institute said.

Among these are TripAdvisor and Expedia. The latter does not show up in the Alexa statistics, but visitors who had just come from TripAdviser were 3.4 percent, said Alexa.  Google contributed 33.9 percent, but there was no breakdown of how many came from pay-per-click advertising and how many were simply the result of user generated searches.

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