Is There a Bank in Comcast Town? (Part 1)

Social media networks represent significant opportunities for brands to directly connect with specific segments of consumers more than ever before, but many struggle with how to make those connections relevant, engaging, and influence sales.

Comcast recently tried its hand at increasing both reach and engagement with its brand using a virtual reality microsite, Comcasttown.com, which could be directly linked to users’ Facebook profiles. After my senses were piqued by this campaign, I decided to find out how effective it was at attracting consumers.

In March 2009, Comcast promoted Comcasttown.com in a multi-platform marketing campaign that called on consumers to create and share their personalized multi-media virtual living rooms. Radio advertising played catchy jingles and TV promos showed people singing in their virtual rooms or strolling the animated character filled streets of Comcast Town. Magazine and online banner ads showed "HD monsters" and spacemen "future hopping" down sidewalks.

Sample Comcast Town TV commercial and banner snapshots:

Comcast Town itself is a virtual world. Those who registered on the site could create their own living room by purchasing various items with virtual currency. If users take a registration shortcut using their Facebook profile, their Comcast Town purchases appear on their recent activity tracking on Facebook, publicizing the microsite to their entire network.

The social media angle was important because Comcast didn’t seem to invest too heavily.in offline marketing. Using TNS Media Intelligence’s Adscope™ product, I discovered out of the sample of 207 Comcast campaigns (on TV, radio, and print) observed in March, nearly 13% of them were Comcast Town ads.

Looking at Comcasttown.com’s Site Profile on Compete.com, the site attracted less than 100,000 unique visitors in March, and reached just 1% of Comcast.com‘s unique visitor traffic.

Facebook was an important traffic driver to Comcast Town. As shown in the chart below, over a third of referrals, the site that a visitor was on before they went to Comcasttown.com, came from Facebook. Although Comcast may have used display ads on Facebook to drive awareness of Comcast Town, Facebook’s profile activity tracking / newsfeed likely helped to build it too. Facebook users share their interactions with Comcast Town on their walls, which led to their friends to checkout Comcast Town as well.

Comcast’s main website was the second biggest source of traffic to Comcast Town, which was promoted on the home page with a small banner.

Comcasttown.com is a small town and would have a very limited population if it weren’t for its integration with Facebook. Check back next week for Part 2, where I’ll look to see how active users were on Comcasttown.com and its effectiveness in driving online purchases on Comcast.com.