The ability to forecast DRTV performance requires the ultimate balance of art and science. It takes into consideration the fine line between utilizing past experience and environmental issues in the here and now.
While the latter depends on the particular product, exact media timing, external events, and more, the former calls upon extensive familiarity with the combined results of multiple campaigns over extended periods of time.
There are many variables to be considered, including the use of product offer, commercial length, national versus spot market advertising, as well as the demographics of the target audience.
One of the most interesting variables is seasonality. Simply said, what is the impact on my results at various times of the year? In DRTV, product advertising cycles and weather patterns repeat themselves year after year – hence seasonality.
Since DRTV is bought on an immediately preemptible basis, advertisers are playing low rates, for longer lengths, with the understanding that if someone comes in to pay more preempting is expected. In most cases the rates DRTV advertisers pay more than 50 percent less than general advertisers who buy guaranteed-to-run spots. DRTV is the perfect example of supply and demand. In periods of the year with high demand (2Q and 4Q) rates are high and clearance is lower. In times when demand is low, so are the rates, while clearance is high.
The first quarter, particularly January, has consistently proven itself to be the best for DRTV primarily because most general advertisers had their spending spree in the fourth quarter. First quarter television viewership is at its highest. The cost per’s becomes inherently “protected” by the lift in eyeballs and reduction in rates. In fact, many of our clients that rely heavily on DRTV, spend 40 percent of their advertising budges in the first quarter alone.
Of course, life – even DRTV life – goes on well beyond the first quarter.
Throughout the year, there are other predictable events that can have an impact on both clearance and response levels. Environmental factors such as political activity, March Madness (CBS), new car launches, the Olympics (NBC) and other media-heavy events all change viewers from passive viewers and active shoppers to viewers whose attention is focused on content.