DRTV changes channels

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A multichannel approach provides a clearer picture of DRTV's potential
A multichannel approach provides a clearer picture of DRTV's potential

Hoveround experienced this so it now uses a unique toll-free number but just a general URL for each of its 60- and 120-second short-form spots, encouraging viewers to call and order one of the company's wheelchairs or vehicles. Hoveround made this decision after working with Mercury Media and iMarketing LTD to track SEM efforts, and noticing that when it used unique URLs, conversion rates dropped.

“We still felt that for our audience it might be a little too much for them to type it in,” Hilton says. “We find we get more response if we keep it simple—sort of one plus one equals three.”

Infoworx Direct's Perlstein says he's seen some marketers go even further and remove the URL from their spots altogether. “As a marketer, we want phone calls—they convert at a much higher rate if you have a live agent—so we have several offers now in which we don't have a URL,” he says. “I was at the gym yesterday and saw one of the most famous exercise equipment ads with no URL.”

Conversely, Acquirgy placed directives at the front of the URL, such as tbs.taebo.com, which resulted in a greater number of viewers who type the unique URL into their browser.

An additional challenge is the shift to mobile phone. Whereas traditional landline phones provided a marketer with clear geographic and even socioeconomic insights into individual customers just by their area code, that's no longer the case, as individuals can move to any part of the country and still use a number they may have gotten years ago.

“DRTV used to be, ‘Let's drop an 800-number on an extended TV ad and get [customers] to take immediate action relative to our product or service,'” says Capital One's McLean, whose company has been using DRTV to promote its mobile apps and features. “If you think about people's behavior today, most are sitting with the second screen as they're watching television, so we have to think about the opportunity that provides in terms of extending the message.”

According to the recent report “The Multiscreen Marketer” from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), television viewership decreases as viewers gain access to more screens. Consumers with just a television and computer now do 87% of their viewing of TV content (as opposed to online video) on a television, those who also have a tablet and smartphone do just 69% of their TV viewing on a TV set.

Conversely, the impact of TV commercials actually grows with more screens. While 42% of two-screen viewers (consumers that view content on a television and a computer) say they are likely to recall advertisers on a favorite show, that figure rose to 46% for three-screen viewers (consumers of content on, for instance, a mobile handset, a computer, and a television), and 53% for four-screen viewers.

To track the impact of its DRTV spots, Mercury looks at how many unique hits it gets on the client's target website. This allows them to gauge when the Web hits came in, and line them up when the spots aired.

Still, the need for a cross-channel solution to measure audiences across multiple screens is considerable. In fact, Nikesh Arora, Google's SVP and Chief Business Officer, singled out this demand during the company's April quarterly call. “Our clients and partners want complete solutions that work across all screens: desktop, mobile, tablet, and…television.”

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