In simple terms, general advertisers’ primary objective is to increase consumer awareness of a brand, product or service. DRTV, on the other hand, is more focused around a call-to-action to influence consumers into pursuing a specific action. Traditionally, that action would have been to call a dedicated phone number. A reasonable ask, you might think. But in reality, your audience was relaxing on the sofa, watching TV… so unless they were genuinely intrigued by the product or service, they were unlikely to go to the effort of picking up the phone to find out more.
Fast forward to 2017, however, and the majority of the UK population is there with an internet-enabled smartphone or tablet by their side. What’s more, it’s normal viewer behaviour (and the default for millennials) to be using that second screen device at the same time as watching TV. So if the call-to-action is to visit a website or install an app, an absolute minimum of effort is required… it’s really not much of an ask. The advertiser is mere moments away from getting the audience where they want them.
These moments are what Google has termed ‘micro-moments’ – those points in time where the audience turns to their device to take action on whatever they need or want, right there, right then. This means that DRTV advertisements can now readily affect impulsive decisions. And to do so, it’s crucial to give the respondent exactly what they’re looking for, as quickly as possible – so functional website design and fast-loading times are important considerations for such campaigns.
“Mobile has forever changed what we expect of brands. It’s fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.” (thinkwithgoogle.com) Indeed, even advertisers purely concerned with brand awareness are now following these same principles. Brand Response TV instead pulls viewers towards a product website or social media page that can reinforce and elaborate on the messaging from the initial TV advertisement: collating data or email addresses in the process, in turn, assisting in attribution for brand campaigns – which have traditionally been very difficult to measure accurately.
There are other boons to the seamless interaction between DRTV and smartphones too. If a respondent wasn’t fully convinced to follow through with a purchase or install at that particular time, the site is logged in their browser history – easy to discover again should that individual’s interest be reignited. Better still, with smartphones an integral part of social network activity, viewers can refer friends to an online destination without obstacle: all it takes is that micro-moment of inspiration.
Of course, where DRTV works absolute wonders in prompting a response via a smartphone is when the advertisement is actually for a mobile game or app. That virtually constitutes point-of-sale advertising, as the viewer is just a few seconds away from being able to attain that product – and in the case of free installs, there’s every incentive and a completely clear path to take up the offer. It’s something we previously discussed in a piece about the ideal frequency for TV advertisements. In such a frictionless environment, you don’t need to keep pushing that call-to-action, if the viewer didn’t follow through, they probably never will. And at that point, advertisers can simply redirect ad spend to reach new audiences.
Monitoring responses delivered through smartphones also brings a whole host of data that makes it possible to correctly attribute online performance to TV advertisements. With sufficient expertise and insight, it’s possible to use regression analysis to read between the lines; and determine the ROI from each channel of marketing activity. In this context, TV no longer represents a leap of faith for the advertiser.
It’s somewhat ironic that the boom of smartphones has had the effect of eliminating the value of phone numbers in DRTV advertisements (unless targetting a 55+ demographic), whilst at the same time, making them far more effective and measurable than they ever were before. And it’s a trend that’s almost certain to continue, as those ‘on hand’ devices become exponentially more sophisticated. It’s only a matter of time before all a viewer needs to do to respond to an advertised offer, is to point their phone at the TV… and you can’t get more direct than that.
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