Considering the idea of using a sub-domain name for marketing? If you do, consider the following:
Note: I provide constructive criticism based on my experience, what I have seen and why I think it’s a problem. I do this to help others.
Today, we take a look at parent company Mondelez who is marketing a new offering for its Oreo brand for the holiday season, gifting Oreo’s.
Mondelez is making a hard push to better the companies ecommerce efforts and are spending a good deal of money to do so.
Oreo announced via a press release “OREO, Launches Direct-to-Consumer Gifting Site for the Holidays”
Which continued with the follow:
“Just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year, OREO is introducing gifts.oreo.com, a totally new online gifting experience for consumers featuring festive OREO tins filled with White Fudge Covered OREO cookies, a seasonal favorite. The new eCommerce pilot program will allow Mondelēz International to further build its direct-to-consumer credentials and is the latest initiative in the company’s global e-commerce strategy, which aims to grow revenues to at least $1 billion by 2020.
“OREO cookies have been part of people’s holiday shopping and snacking for generations. And a key part of our eCommerce strategy is to offer unique gifting opportunities for our fans while ensuring a seamless shopping experience from start to finish,” said Jennifer Hull, Global e-commerce Marketing Platforms Lead.”
What I see people do
Problem #1. The hyper-link is ok when it’s a link and somebody clicks it. The bad, people talk, A LOT! What about word of mouth? Using a sub-domain “gifts” prior to the main brand domain name kind of thing is “ok” if you even know what a sub-domain is AND if you cover ALL bases for those who do not and will mix things up a bit. Keep in mind that people will visit websites in different ways, not all by clicking or tapping a link.
Cover the missteps
1.) Resolve / redirect the singular sub-domain name Gift.Oreo.com! Did Mondelez do this? NO, resolves to a dead page! If a consumer does not click a link and attempts to type it because a friend mentions it, there is potential that they will type Gift.Oreo.com instead of Gifts.Oreo.com as advertised (Strike 1, lost visitors, no cookies for you)
2.) Own and use the exact domain name but without the . between the sub-domain and domain name. Gifts.Oreo.com can and does result in users forgetting the period and typing GiftsOreo.com. Did Mondelez do this? No! (Strike 2, still no cookies) The domain is unregistered and available for registration!
3.) Own and use the typo of the domain without the . between the sub-domain and domain. GiftOreo.com. Did Mondelez do this? No! (Strike 3, no cookies yet) Also available for registration.
Remember Jennifer’s quote from above and her mentioning that they are “ensuring a seamless shopping experience from start to finish”. That statement becomes not so true to people who do any 1 of the 3 common missteps mentioned above that should be covered when marketing with a sub-domain name and they covered zero of them.
Why even use a sub-domain to direct people to act on something or learn more?
I personally do not enjoy seeing a sub-domain used in advertising. Why?
They create at least some confusion. Was that a dot? Two dots? Why is there a dot in the domain? Is that a domain name? Trust me, it’s not common and it creates some confusion using sub-domains, so I wouldn’t even suggest doing it.
Sub-domains are not visually pleasing. gifts.oreo.com is busy and it shouldn’t be. Add in the plural problem and you have double trouble. Highlighting keywords with capital letters helps the eye separate them: Gifts.Oreo.com which pops more than gifts.oreo.com where it appears to run as one but I’d avoid marketing with sub-domains.
What would Jamie do?
GiftOreo.com is the domain name I would have used in the press release. It speaks to the consumer TO gift Oreo’s and that is what Mondelez is trying to do. I would also register the plural domain, GiftsOreo.com and 301 redirect it to the singular domain. It would not be my first thought to use the plural (gifts) as they did. Not sure why really as the site is only offering 1 type of cookie to gift.
If it is a corporate decision to direct traffic to the main Oreo.com website, I would do a Server Side 301 redirect on GiftOreo.com using:
- Title: Gift Oreo Cookie’s Today! Yummy
- Meta Description: Give the gift of OREO this holiday season. Spread the joy with the gift of White Fudge Covered OREO Cookies, delivered from you!
Doing a server side redirect allows for the domain name GiftOreo.com to be indexed by search engines, with a title and meta description (consider the title and meta as a sales pitch to get the user to click). This helps you “take the top” of search engines and rank several of your websites / domains. The marketed domain and the sub-domain on the main domain name Oreo.com. Winning
GiftOreo.com is simply easier to remember for consumers to share the idea via word of mouth. Not having a . helps eliminate confusion.
What’s the big deal about the cookie gifting?
All that is required to have the cookies shipped to somebody is that persons email address or mobile phone number. Well, and $19.99 from you! Or, as Oreo puts it: “Our patent pending gifting technology allows you to purchase and send OREO gifts without needing to know the recipient’s address. Simply enter the recipient’s email address or mobile number during the order process and we’ll send them a link to the gift via email or text message. Your recipient can then click the link, enter their shipping address, and the gift will be sent to them.”
Don’t let them BS you on the whole fancy “Our patent pending gifting technology” ploy… they are using Jifiti, which is a gifting start-up.
Risky in general but I’m sure tested. It relies pretty heavily on email (which is a mess) and text messaging, the person “accepting” the gift after they “digitally open it”…. oh boy!
Reality, the fancy tin box will consume limited space in your home and you really only care about the damn good cookies. Just buy the $3.00 bag of Oreo’s at Walmart and it gives you a reason to visit with the family member or friend personally instead of the mail service. Heck, buy a second bag and talk about the $19.99 tin you almost gifted to them but now you have $13 bucks left to buy a domain to start something cool!
Note: I did send an email on Dec 6, 2016 to Jennifer Hull suggesting they register the domain names mentioned in the article, but no action has taken place.