It’s been a few months since Skittles.com borrowed the user interface of social networks Twitter.com and Facebook.com during a branding exercise in March of 2009. This bold move to drive eyes to Skittles.com involved a few weeks of replacing the typical content you’d see at Skittles.com with what appeared to be their hash # page at Twitter (#skittles), followed by a fan page on Facebook.

The Results of the Marketing Effort

Skittles.com Uses Twitter and Facebook to Double Traffic

As you can see by the image above, Skittles.com brought its traffic up to a staggering 442 thousand unique visits from 20 thousand in February of 2009, which trickled down to 42 thousand uniques by the beginning of May of 2009 and continues to diminish.

One has to wonder what percentage of those additional 422 visitors were Internet Marketers like us paying attention to estimated visits. Additionally, how many of the estimated 42 thousand are Internet Marketers revisiting Skittles.com to see if they are up to anything new?

Truth be told, I expected the drop and having tested several social and viral marketing tactics, understand that Social as an advertising medium is like fashion is to style: trendy and not long-lived. Style in this scenario is natural organic search.

The lesson for Skittles and other brands is simple: To boost and sustain traffic and online sales, don’t do something funny or blow money on a quick fix idea conjured up by your marketing department. Just do what you’ve always done but continue to do it better. Come out with new products or spin the existing. Run occasional contests. Offers are huge and TV is the medium to use to get views to patronize your website to obtain the offer. Possibly improve your brand with a character (like Mars did with the M&M toons) and invoke participation on your own website rather than borrowing the platforms of others. Those Twitter & Facebook users are still there and not on your website any longer.

Search beats Social once again (Adam, that’s one point SEO for our whiteboard). Thanks for reading our study and see you again soon!