Verizon benefited from top-secret Droid campaign

By withholding the price of the Droid until the very last minute, Verizon may have attracted more traffic to its website, a new study shows.

The Droid, a smartphone built by Motorola and powered by Verizon Wireless.

Verizon Wireless was right to withhold the price of its Droid phone until close to launch, a media tracking firm demonstrated today. According a new study from Compete, the Droid advertising campaign attracted much more web traffic than last year's campaign for the T-Mobile G1, one of the first smartphones to use the Android OS.

So how did Verizon manage to drum up more buzz around the Droid? The answer is all in the marketing approach.

Verizon played coy with the pricing on the Droid, rolling out a series of teasers and web advertisements, while holding back on pricing information. This meant that the Droid page on Verizon's site got one big jolt of traffic when the phone was announced, and a second when the pricing and specs were revealed.

By comparison, the G1 saw similar traffic figures on announcement day and on launch day. Here's an excerpt from Compete post summarizing the findings:

T-Mobile announced the G1 a full month before launch, but didn’t follow up with any major announcements about the G1 during those 30 days. Verizon Wireless, however, announced the Droid 20 days prior to launch, but saved release of price details until just 9 days pre-launch. The shorter duration of time between announcement and launch, coupled with a new announcement midway through the wait-period served to reinvigorate interest and keep the Droid in the minds of online consumers.

In October, Verizon released the first “iDroid” spots, which played down the capabilities of the Apple iPhone without saying much about the Droid.

“iDon’t have a real keyboard. iDon’t run simultaneous apps. iDon’t take night shots. iDon’t allow open development,” read anti-Apple copy posted on the Droid website. “iDon’t customize. iDon’t run widgets. iDon’t have interchangeable batteries. Everything iDon’t, Droid does.”

Verizon then ratcheted up the pre-launch pressure, releasing pricing and specs only weeks before the Droid actually went on sale. (Verizon also aired advertisements – see video below – playing up the top-secret nature of the Droid.)

From a business perspective, the strategy was a success. A quarter of a million people purchased Droid phones in the first week of sales alone, mobile tracking company Flurry reported.

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