Spots will change to fit local markets, Web

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In the coming year, I anticipate a tremendous amount of discussion and debate about how to translate direct response commercials to the Internet.

As more and more advertisers start incorporating their DRTV spots into streaming video, the issue will come into focus: Will the spots work without any alteration or do they need to be rethought and re-created completely?

 Before a roll out, commercials are tested for length, incentives, positioning and so on. Sometimes, tweaks can make all the difference between an average response and a great one.

It's logical to assume, therefore, that we're going to see a great deal of testing of DRTV spots that run on Web sites. Savvy advertisers and agencies are going to experiment with everything from 5-second spots to infomercial-length ones.

They will create original, Internet-only DRTV commercials; they will also stream spots exactly as that appeared on television, changing only the ordering options (clicking on an icon rather than calling a toll-free number).

They'll measure how many people click on the Internet spot; how many people respond with requests for information; how many sales are generated; how respondents were driven to a particular commercial on a particular site.

A second big trend in 2007 will involve increased customization of DRTV spots. Using digital technologies, we now have the capacity to tailor a spot for a particular audience and location in order to maximize response.

We can create 100 variations on a base commercial. We might change premium offers based on demographics, length of spot based on the program and station where it airs and cost options based on a given audience income.

I suspect that we're going to find that a DRTV spot that airs in one suburb will be slightly different than one that airs in a more affluent suburb only 10 miles away.

This trend makes perfect sense, given the proliferation of cable/satellite stations and programming. As stations emerge for every possible demographic, it stands to reason that advertisers will target their commercials accordingly.

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