Guest post by Alicia Kan
Results from a recent US research study indicate that new web domains like vodka, .kitchen and .photo may provide surprising advertising savings while delivering twice the results.
Currently there are 417 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that have been ‘delegated’ or introduced into the Internet by ICANN, the global body that coordinates the Internet’s naming system. Since January 2014, over 2.2 million gTLDs have been registered.
Extending domain names beyond the traditional .com, .net and.org was necessary as demand surged beyond supply. New brands have found it exceedingly difficult, if not prohibitively expensive, to secure traditional domains.
The new domains being released through ICANN are envisioned to alleviate the shortage. Critics however have said that the programme only fuels speculation for deep-pocketed registries and companies like Amazon or Microsoft that can afford a gTLD.
Given the explosion of gTLDs, Texan digital agency Globe Runner conducted research in August to determine the marketing potential of a new domain versus a traditional one.
Two tests were run: 3caratdiamonds.com vs 3carat.diamonds and mattitosmenu.com vs mattitos.menu. The first test was to compare the performance between a traditional domain and a keyword-rich domain, while the second was to compare the performance between two brand-related domains.
Globe Runner created similar variables — landing page design, creative, copy, offer, keywords chosen — for each test. The only difference was the domain name.
Landing page for the 3carat diamonds test
Landing page for the Mattitos menu test. Mattitos is a popular Tex-Mex restaurant in Dallas, Texas
Results of the tests showed that Google not only served up nearly twice as many impressions for the new domain, the average cost per click (CPC) was also lower, resulting in a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) that was nearly half that of a traditional domain. The latter however had a higher click-through rate, indicating that consumers still trusted .coms over the newer domains.
What are the implications for brand marketers?
Brands looking to build awareness can get more bang for their buck by using a new gTLD instead of paying top dollar for a .com. If click-throughs are the objective however, brands should secure the .com or another traditional domain. The complete study can be downloaded from Globe Runner‘s site.
Globe Runner is Green Zebras’ research partner offering digital analytics and competitive intelligence. It has over 60 US and international clients in FMCG, beauty, fashion, financial services, healthcare, home and interiors, jewelry, professional services and sports.
Globe Runner sits on the boards of the Dallas Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) and the Social Media Club of Dallas (SMC Dallas). The agency’s staff and work have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Adweek.