Human habits can sure be inconvenient for companies that want to properly attribute sales to marketing efforts. For instance, when consumers watch a direct response television spot and decide to respond via the Web, they may not use that catchy URL. Viewers may, instead, use a search engine to type in the company name, the product or service name, or the most memorable phrase from the commercial.
That's why it's important for marketers to understand the links between DRTV and search and what they can do about them, according to a "green paper" from St. Petersburg, Fla.-based advertising agency Acquirgy, which specializes in customer acquisition. The paper released in October, "The Effect of Direct Response TV on Search Engine Marketing," finds that in most cases, companies experiencing the above DRTV-to-search human habit improperly attribute the resulting sales to search engine marketing.
Edited by Irv Brechner, executive vice president of corporate communications, the paper further finds:
- Among those who respond to DRTV online, 15 percent to 30 percent do so through search engines rather than provided URLs;
- Paid search is a faster way to ensure consumers find search engine results for what they seek immediately after the DRTV spot, rather than waiting for organic search to take hold for those specific searches; and
- DRTV has a demonstrable effect on SEM. In a case study mentioned in the paper, a telephony business saw daily search impressions increase by 1,230 percent and "search-driven responses" represent 36.6 percent of campaign responses and 49.9 percent of Web-driven responses.
Key actions for marketers to take about DRTV-to-SEM include:
- Have a paid search campaign correspond to the DRTV campaign and ensure the website also reinforces the brand message. Work on the organic search campaign, as well, but realize that it will take longer to catch up;
- "The most important step for DRTV marketers to take is to forge close working relationships between their media buyers and their SEM search teams";
- "In order to calculate your true cost-per-response, you must factor in DRTV-driven search traffic";
- "You must be careful not to 'double-pay' for search traffic that is already being driven by your DRTV activities"; and
- Companies may find that affiliates quickly figure out very effective ways to tie SEM to the DRTV spot for which the marketers paid. It's important to establish "affiliate rules of engagement" just in case.