Live from DMA09: Point and Click Takes on a New Meaning With Interactive TV
As it is, consumers are already using television as a starting point for many of their purchases, says Joshua Herman, digital marketing innovation leader for Little Rock, Ark.-based data solutions firm Acxiom. "TV is the largest driver of online search," he says, before detailing real-life tests of the latest direct marketing innovation—interactive television.
Consumers can watch an advertisement and then respond to a call to action by clicking on the yellow triangles on their remote controls, says Mitchell Oscar, executive vice president of televisual applications for MPG, a media services agency of Barcelona-based Havas Media. While tested mainly in local markets, like Philadelphia and parts of Hawaii, that option may soon go national courtesy of New York-based cable advertisement targeting company Canoe Ventures, says Oscar and Canoe's senior vice president of agency relations, Bruce Dennler.
Herman and Oscar led a presentation titled "The Path to Database-Driven Interactive TV" during DMA09 in San Diego.
Starting with the data supplied by satellite and cable television companies, marketers can segment lists and determine the best target audience prior to the media buy, Herman says. Rather than using ZIP codes, marketers will need to think in terms of cable zones—which may include several ZIP codes, he adds. (There are 2,250 cable zones in the United States and about 180,000 digital cable subscribers who can be targeted down to the household level, Herman and Oscar agree.)
What the first few advertisers have done—such as AIG and Hyundai—is use regular commercial slots at regular commercial prices and place in a regular commercial. Then, they say, those advertisers used an interactive graphic overlay that allowed cable customers to opt in to receive marketing messages based on the advertisement they saw. (For instance, Hyundai asked consumers if they wanted a test drive, which would include a car being driven directly to their house. An opt-in—in this case, a double opt-in—provided Hyundai with the consumer's address, because the cable company was a first-party marketer and the opt-in to the third party marketing allowed the auto company access to the address.)
While the results haven't yet been stellar, Herman and Oscar say, once people crest the learning curve this approach will catch on. The AIG test took place during the bailout (but 562 households still accepted the free pizza from AIG during its insurance branding airing), and while 100 people accepted the Hyundai test drive, only 25 people made it past the second opt-in step, which showed the legalese.