A few weeks ago, the Compete.com team made an impromptu lunch trip to the local IHOP. I’m normally not the type to eat breakfast food at lunch, but since IHOP was giving away free pancakes, I caved. On February 23rd, IHOP’s National Pancake Day, the restaurant gives out a free short stack of pancakes to each customer, and in return, it asks each pancake eater to consider making a charitable donation to support local children’s hospitalsÂ So, were people racing online looking for their local IHOP?
The chart below illustrates Daily Reach, or, how many people visited both ihop.com and ihoppancakeday.com as a percentage of all U.S. Internet users.Â On Monday February 22nd, the Daily Reach for ihop.com started its climb, which peaked on Tuesday February 23rd at 0.043%.Â Similarly, ihoppancakeday.com, an IHOP microsite dedicated to National Pancake Day, also had a spike in traffic, peaking on Tuesday February 23rd at 0.081%.Â Those spikes in traffic show that free promotions help drive traffic to a site. The average Daily Reach over the past year for ihop.com and ihoppancakeday.com are 0.008% and 0.003%, respectively.
As observed in the past, free promotions create a lot of online buzz and drive significant traffic to a promoter’s site(s).Â As more online marketers look to build their brand, free promotions are definitely a weapon to keep in the arsenal.Â Now, can someone please pass me the syrup?