System Puts Bite Into Tracking of Shark Sweeper Infomercial

In what is a challenge for many direct marketers, housewares maker Euro-Pro is tracking the number of Web orders driven from an infomercial it is running for its Shark Cordless Sweeper product.

The company so far has tracked 20,695 Web orders driven from television — down to the specific airing — through advertising agency SendTec Inc.'s iFactz tracking system. This comprises more than 15 percent of all orders generated from infomercials.

“Revenues from the Web lowered the overall cost per order by 11 percent,” said Eric Obeck, president of SendTec, St. Petersburg, FL. “Being able to associate each Web order with a specific airing of the infomercial caused Euro-Pro to purchase infomercial media that otherwise would have been canceled. This, in turn, extended the profitable life of the infomercial.”

The Shark Cordless Sweeper infomercial aimed to introduce and demonstrate what Euro-Pro claims is the world's lightest portable sweeper, designed to compete against heavier rivals. In the past 11 months, it has appeared on more than 1,500 broadcast and cable venues with 7,000-plus airings.

Euro-Pro used iFactz because it wanted to include a Web address alongside the toll-free number to calculate the cost per order including telemarketing and online orders from each infomercial. This helped optimize media decisions.

Initial testing included the toll-free number with no Web address and a toll-free number with a non-iFactz-enabled Web address in the infomercial.

When Euro-Pro ran only the toll-free number in the infomercial, it received 8 percent fewer orders than when a Web address was included. This meant that the company got an 8 percent incremental lift in total orders when both the Web address and toll-free number appeared.

Of course, when Euro-Pro used only a Web address but not iFactz, it could not accurately attribute specific Web orders to the particular infomercial airings.

Based on Euro-Pro's permissible cost per order, this iFactz tracking let it decide which half-hours to cancel and which to continue buying.

Offering consumers two response channels helps. Obeck cited research claiming advertisers on average see more than a 10 percent rise in total activity by including both a Web address and a toll-free number.

For direct response TV, he said, 8 percent to 65 percent of consumers choose to respond over the Internet versus the toll-free number depending on the offer and viewer demographics. The type of offer and demographic explain the wide band.

Using iFactz, each TV station dub shows a core Web address coupled with a unique numerical prefix. One of the many Web addresses for Euro-Pro was When users type that name in their Web browser, they are quickly redirected through the iFactz system to the advertiser's site.

It is during this process that iFactz ties the response to the specific airing that generated it. If the consumer does not type the numerical prefix — as happens 30 percent of the time — iFactz processes the response through eight algorithms and databases along with a predictive bursting system that links the response to the media source and creative.

The tracking data associated with Web analytics and pertinent information are sent to the advertiser or its media-buying agency. This is done through real-time reports or automatic downloads into their legacy media optimization systems.

IFactz is an application service provider. This means the advertiser or media agency can access the desktop iFactz system through a Web connection to set up their campaigns and to access reports and data.

Advertisers using iFactz are charged 10 cents a unique Web visit or $1 for a Web conversion, defined as someone who completes the action desired by the advertiser. The per-conversion option includes a one-time $500 set-up charge per campaign.

“Currently, all users are able to test iFactz for free to ensure that it adds value to their campaigns,” Obeck said.

Current users of iFactz include Intuit for Quickbooks, power wheelchair maker Hoveround Corp., storage systems company PODS and truck-bed lining spray-on manufacturer Rhino Linings. Media agency users include Corinthian Media and Euro RSCG Tyee MCM.

Obeck said iFactz is good for media such as radio, billboards, mail and print media. But it is best suited for direct response TV campaign tracking. It is helped by 48 percent of U.S. Internet users having a TV and PC in the same room, according to comScore Media Metrix. Of these people, 47 percent said they frequently go online while watching TV.

“The reason it is best suited for DRTV is because DRTV has more permutations that need to be tracked than other mediums,” Obeck said. “In addition, at an ever-increasing rate, TV is driving Web activity.”

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