Tech companies that want to drive prospects to their websites are finding the best results come from hits in general circulation and trade media, says research by Bospar, San Francisco tech PR firm.

An “overwhelming majority” of 500+ marketers (85%) surveyed by Bospar believe a top-tier online feature is the best way to drive web traffic, said Curtis Sparrer, principal of the firm.

Curtis SparrerCurtis Sparrer

In second place was an industry trade feature story, cited by 70%.

Social media, despite the increased focus by PR people on using SM for marketing, was cited by 56% of those in the survey. Top-tier and non-top tier placements as well as top-tier broadcast features and top-tier print features were cited by more than 40% of those in the sample.

Paid advertorials, also known as “branded media” and “sponsored content,” the subject of a New York Daily News panel Sept. 21 that described a sharp rise in that practice, came in last, said Sparrer.

Only 26% thought paid advertorial in industry media helped drive traffic and 23% thought paid advertorials in top-tier media generated clicks.

When it came to consumers, a majority of American men said they would visit a tech company's web or mobile site after repeatedly seeing media placements, with nearly 1 in 5 men saying they would visit a site the very first time they see an article. A smaller group of men (16 percent), would visit company site after seeing several (between 2 to 5) media placements. Nearly 1 in 4 men will visit a company site after seeing the story more than five times.

Only 13 percent of women say the first story is enough to merit a visit to a company’s website. After seeing several stories publish, 11 percent of women say they will visit a company’s site. Forty-nine percent of women say, if they see enough placements, they will eventually check out a company’s web or mobile site because of press coverage.

Bospar secured these finding of 1,010 Americans through Google Consumer Surveys, which says it makes use of the inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling method by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to publisher network and/or android smartphone users. Demographics are inferred through respondents' browsing history (DoubleClick cookies for age & gender and IP address for geography), then this is matched against existing government statistical data.

Google Consumer Surveys uses post-stratification weighting to compensate for sample deficiencies to remove bias among the survey sample. This gives a more accurate result with lower root mean square error (RMSE) which also makes the results better represent the Current Population Survey (CPS).