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Shark Tank Case Study


What happens to traffic, sales, referrals, leads and SEO when you get on ABC's Shark Tank? In this client case study, we showcase the Shark Tank effect.



What is the Shark Tank Effect?

The Shark Tank Effect is the impact on immediate and long-term business growth as a result of showing up on ABC's Shark Tank. Here we discuss some of the specifics with our recent client example, NightCap -- The Drink Spiking Prevention Scrunchie.

  • Shark Tank has an immediate impact on site traffic. As one might imagine, appearing on prime time national television will have an immediate impact and lift to your site traffic, which creates a bandwidth problem for the unprepared. It also creates a massive opportunity.
  • Site traffic from exposure on a show like Shark Tank drives a massive spike in eyeballs, but an equally and more meaningful impact to business sales. That was certainly the case here.
  • National television appearances can create a coattail wave of other benefits, including SEO and link building. In this brief case study, we will discuss how Shark Tank brings backlinks and SEO benefits gallore.
  • Shark Tank helps with branding and long term sustainability and awareness. Apart from initial "pop" that occurs, there is a long term awareness and brand loyalty that comes from the thousands who might visit a brand's website when they first appear on Shark Tank.

What is NightCap?

NightCap is a drink-spiking and date rape prevention product that combines the functionality of a woman's hair scrunchie with a friendly alcoholic beverage cover. The company is a client of SEO.co and appeared on ABC's Shark Tank on February 5, 2021. The company received funding from Lori Greiner.




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Shark Tank Impact on Backlinks & SEO


An appearance on Shark Tank has an immediate media frenzy coattail effect on links, rankings and overall SEO. Just prior to airing, we worked with the client to pitch as many local and regional media outlets as possible (including online, print and television) to make sure we capitalized on the coattail promotion effect and buzz this event would stimulate. These efforts helped to amplify the SEO impact of the event in a major way.
In the first 48 hours before the launch, we started to see some initial buzz and backlinks. But, the real spike hit after the premiere on ABC. In addition, a local news station in West Palm Beach showed up to cover the event with co-founders Michael & Shirah Benarde.

SEO Backlinks


Not surprisingly, Ahrefs started registering original and syndicated backlinks from high authority sources starting 24 hours before, during and for the several days following the live event. Bloggers references and mentions also followed.
Perhaps even more intriguing is the site went from ranking nowhere for "Nightcap," the company's own brand name, to ranking in page 1, position 1 within 24 hours of the Shark Tank airing.

Shark Tank Preparation


Prior to Shark Tank, the company was using Wordpress as a CMS, including Woocommerce for the cart and hosting at WPEngine. Upon learning of the upcoming Shark Tank appearance, a reassessment had to be made, a site redesign commenced and several factors had to be considered, including: improved branding, traffic load and bandwidth, improved mobile usability and improved site speed.


 

eCommerce Functionality

Shopify has an extensible CMS more custom-built for ecommerce transactions, operations and scale. Unlike Wordpress, it's not a blogging platform made to work like a shopping platform.
 

Scalability

As a hosting platform, Shopify includes one of the best load-balancing solutions available for a national audience with the types of traffic spikes expected from a spike like Shark Tank. Other solutions could prepare, but the lowest cost to do so was an astounding $4,000. Shopify's load balancing and scaling ability was built-in the basic plan of $30/mo.
 

Future Growth

Shopify's scalability, design and ecommerce capabilities made it the perfect platform for growth into the future. We could not have used a better CMS or host for launching on Shark Tank. Period.

Site Speed & Mobile Usability


As any good web developer with a keen eye for SEO knows, beauty in design can be killed by ugly in user experience. This was the case here. That's why after a complete site overhaul, we implemented an on-site strategy focused on Core Web Vitals including desktop and mobile site speed as well as mobile usability.

Before Site Speed Alterations


After the initial move from Wordpress to Shopify was complete, most of the team were happy with the design results, but any good SEO understands that winning requires looking under the hood. We didn't like what we saw. The results from GT Metrix and Google Page Speed Insights were terrible, especially when you're talking about the potential of thousands of visitors in only a few minutes. We had to do better.

After Site Speed Alterations


After our site speed implementations, we saw fantastic results on both Google Page Speed Insights and GT Metrix on both desktop and mobile, including results that ranged under 1.5 second on full meaningful content paint. We were more comfortable for prime time TV with these types of results!

Because we knew most users watching the television program would be accessing the site via a mobile device, we had to make sure the mobile speed experience didn't have a negative impact on sales. To achieve the above results, we strategically implemented the following key fixes to the site, giving it the speed boost it would critically need on mobile and desktop. In some cases, a Google Page Speed Insights score of say 5 may only take 3-4 seconds extra to load, which a designer may ignore. However, at scale, those two or three seconds could be critical and lose thousands in potential revenue.
Redirect Reduction
Minimize HTTP Requests
Reduce Server Response Time
Defer JavaScript & JavaScript Loading
Enable Compression
Enable Browser Caching
Minify Resources
Optimize Images
Optimize CSS Delivery
Optimize Fonts
Eliminate Render-Blocking Resources
Minify JavaScript & CSS
Prioritize Above the Fold Content
Shove Scripting Below the Fold
Lazy Load External Scripts

Conclusion

What did we learn? What were the key takeaways from this unique and interesting project?

It takes a village
This was a team effort. We could not have worked with a better client. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but the site traffic, revenue and conversion numbers were off the charts in the first 24 hours and continue to crush.
The devil is in the details
If you think you have nailed design, make sure you always look again. There is always something lurking behind closed doors. In this case, site speed would have likely KILLED the potential revenue to be had from such an amazing media exposure opportunity.
Prepare early, iterate
We tested multiple iterations, designs and alterations to make sure the site was optimized for conversions, speed and mobile. Making sure you iterate to the best possible
Use the right platform
You need the right tech stack for the right project. For most SMBs, a simple Wordpress site with Woocommerce on Bluehost might work, but if you're going for mass ecommerce scale, you need a platform that can support it.
Piggyback for coattail growth in SEO
If you ever are so blessed to have such an opportunity, use it to your full advantage by pitching to local and national media so you can maximize the number of links, references and brand mentions possible in such a short period. Building links is hard, but if you have an opportunity like this, do a little outreach and you can 10x the results.
Be humble
As we watched the traffic and sales flow in on Friday evening, it's tempting to pat yourself on the back and give yourself a gold star. The reality is that it's better to be lucky than smart or good. We think it's a little of both, but if anyone asks, we were just lucky.

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