Measuring Effect of DRTV on a Website

How do we Accurately Measure the Effect of DRTV on a Website?

– Susan Rowe, May 3, 2012

While this is an inherently difficult question to answer, it can make the difference between success and failure of a DRTV campaign.

Our first question is: why would we need to measure? For many clients we are already capturing phone data, so what purpose does it serve to include web data in our results? We know what stations are working and those that don’t, so how would incorporating web leads into the data stream that I feed into Core Direct (the leader in DRTV tracking and reporting) help my process? The answer is rather simple. Our DRTV activity is pushing more people to a website than to a call center for most clients and categories. Only the 65+ market is an exception to this rule.

For one client, in the financial services category, over the course of two years’ time, we saw the percent shift from 80% phone volume, 20% website volume to the reverse – 20% call volume, 80% web volume. And this was years ago. Using a small subset of the overall data to make decision is fraught with error. We learned that fact on this account when we finally incorporated web leads into our analysis and saw that we had been over-rewarding older-skewing cable networks and canceling younger-skewing cable networks. One company, in the Education category, actually has seen their phone calls dwindle down to almost nothing and decisions are made to keep or jettison a daypart on a station based on one or two calls, while over 90% of their leads are occurring online. So we must incorporate web leads into our data stream. My mantra is every day one more person decides to go online to check out your website instead of picking up the phone.

So let’s get started. There are a number of interesting challenges in grabbing web leads and putting them into a tracking system, such as Core Direct. One is, what data do we take from the website? Luckily for us, in the online world, many streams of customers are from known sources, such as affiliate marketing, email marketing, behavioral and retargeting. We also can ignore people who search (organic or paid) in the category, like car loans or insurance, for example. What we can capture is direct type-in, branded search and organic search (such as queries for Mixbook, Allstate and Jenny Craig). DRTV will drive those areas.

The second challenge is how we determine that an unidentified lead was generated from our DRTV campaign. SEM/SEO teams are already claiming all the leads generated through branded search, so often we need to try to identify lift generated when the DRTV commenced compared with a preperiod, factoring out seasonality as well and perhaps normal velocity of business. Direct type in also had volume prior to commencing with a DRTV campaign so we can also employ a preperiod, as well as other adjusting metrics, to determine lift, in order to more accurately determine the value of DRTV.

Over the years in DRTV, I have seen a variety of online website maneuvers to effectively “carve out” DRTV only leads. Each carries its own inherent problems and I do not recommend employing them. One way, clients claim, to determine if the online lead is coming from DRTV is to simply ask. For one client, during the application process, they would ask, where did you hear about us?

At the time, Internet was receiving by far the bulk of the responses. When the client rotated the entities and put Television first on the list, TV received the bulk of the responses. Same when Magazine or Newspaper was in the first position. So the position was driving the result, not the media type. Using the customer to provide us the answer does not give us an accurate read.

Another method, which is losing popularity, is the /TV or /Radio or /KABC method to bring consumers first to a micro-site or at least track the visit before they go to your home page. Many consumers have wised up to this and don’t bother with typing in the /… unless there is an extremely compelling offer to do so. Also it does not include anyone who is using search to navigate to your site and depending on the complexity of your website name determines the percentage of people employing that method.

Finally, and undoubtedly the most popular, is to use an entirely different website name altogether to capture web leads driven by DRTV. The issue with this is that it denigrates your primary brand and dilutes what branding you could be gleaning from your DRTV effort.

So let’s look at how we incorporate web leads into our data stream employing Core Direct for example. As mentioned above we pull data from three streams of business: direct type in and branded terms from both SEO and SEM. Core Direct’s URL tracking methodology allows us to look at those leads generated within a time window after a spot airs. This way we can see what type of spike of volume we have brought up to the website from our efforts. While we also provide drag through DRTV and that should be incorporated into our overall results, the spike of activity, added to our call leads, should be what we optimize our media against.

Bringing Web leads into the optimization picture for direct response is critical. Someday, when IPTV really takes hold, we may have the ability to “know” what DRTV has provided in terms of clickthroughs. Until then it is up to our industry to employ the best method possible to optimize our media.

 About Susan

Prior to embarking out on her own Susan Rowe held the position of Senior Partner, Managing Director within the Digital and Performance Marketing media practice for Ogilvy Neo in New York and Chicago (Feb 07 – July 08). Her charge was to oversee Performance Marketing for a number of high profile clients, including Allstate, Investools, TD Ameritrade, Select Comfort and Six Flags. She was also responsible for leading NeoVideo, the video unit that works with new forms of video on TV and online. She was selected to be part of a Google TV’s first panel primarily for her work in development of ground breaking research with Google TV on the effect of attentiveness on response.

Susan can be reached at:
Rowe Media

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