Navigation: Marketing Implications
October 5, 2006
Role of Direct Navigation
The paper examines the affect of direct navigation on revenue
from website visits. It introduces a new online marketing weapon,
direct navigation marketing, which is powerful when website content
matches visitor intent.
Direct navigation is the vehicle, not the cause, of potentially
higher revenue per website visitor. High sales-conversion rates from
direct navigation, a measure of comparative revenue, are the result
of the convergence of visitor intent with site content. The causes
of high revenue are website content and a higher profit from direct
navigation marketing. From the perspective of a searcher, direct navigation
is one of the vehicles to satisfy the intent of visiting the destination
website. Although currently the use of the vehicles is free, there
is an indirect search cost associated with the visit.
objective of the destination site, on the other hand, is to maximize
their revenue from visitors, which can be achieved by, at a minimum,
satisfying the visitor’s intent and convincing the visitor to choose
the navigational vehicle that achieves the site’s objective.
There are three components to an online marketing strategy:
traditional, TLD branding, and direct navigation.
This paper introduces the latter and outlines its implications.
Even though the amount of potential additional
revenue creation of direct navigation is not yet satisfactorily
demonstrated empirically, we analyze the case when direct-navigation results in
higher revenue at the company level.
The continued use of type-ins depends on five factors:
(1) effective indirect and direct navigation marketing; (2) user’s
experience with direct navigation meeting intent; (3) increase in
Internet use; (4) users’ experience with search engine methods to
achieve intent; and (5) marketing efforts by competitor search methodologies,
such as search engines, to promote alternatives to direct navigation.
Companies have direct influence on factors (1) and (2).
Hence, a website’s success with direct navigation
has two integrated elements: marketing and website component. Marketing
has three components: explicit, implicit, and TLD free riding (due
to TLD branding, such as “.com”).
Explicit direct navigation marketing occurs when
the visited site explicitly rewards such visitors. On the other
hand, the implicit marketing component is driven by:
Being a byproduct of a company’s general
marketing and branding efforts, these can manifest in bookmarks
and type-ins. Thus, this marketing component is not free.
Hence, when computing the benefits of direct navigation, such
costs must be incorporated into the analysis.
In addition to the TLD free riding, noted
above, the company also is free-riding any positive buzz on
direct navigation in the online, print media, and word of
When there are higher net returns from direct navigation,
the company should explicitly promote and encourage such visitor
behavior. Moreover, ignoring visitor intent can be detrimental
to direct navigation.
 The vehicle can be modeled as a search platform. See
Alex Tajirian, "Internet Search Platform Competition in
Two-Sided Markets," DomainMart.
 TLD branding relates to a company selecting the correct
signaling TLD. However, the average “.com” company gets to free
ride on the TLD brand name, in that, the company, in many cases,
does not have to promote the TLD brand name, such as .com. For
details o this marketing venue, see Alex Tajirian, “Branding Strategy:
The TLD Dimension,” DomainMart.
 Type-ins are either driven by brand name recognition
or when a user assumes that there exists an authoritative site
for a very large set of keywords and that its address is typed-in
the browser as keyword.com (or dot-country-code (ccTLD)).
Topic tags: direct
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