April 2008 - Channel Crossing: Integrated Marketing

Exciting Alphabet Soup: DRTV, SEM & ROI

By Tim O’Brien

As direct response television marketers, we know the numbers-as much as 30 percent of the revenue generated by DRTV campaigns will come from online purchases. So, we make sure to build solid online microsites in support of our clients’ DRTV campaigns, we secure what we hope are memorable web addresses for them, and we mention those website addresses repeatedly in the spots we create and hope that viewers remember.

By using search engine marketing (SEM), we can eliminate the need to rely on viewers’ sometimes-faulty memories. And, by leveraging powerful web analytics, we can ensure that we create the most effective purchase experience possible once our visitors come to our microsites.

SEM (also known as pay-per-click advertising) is an important complement to DRTV. Particularly where organic search results are weak, SEM functions as a highly effective means by which advertisers can ensure their offers are visible and accessible to those searching for them. Additionally, SEM campaigns in support of DRTV can capture customers who:

  • Mis-type or forget the URL;

  • Learn of the offer via word-of-mouth, which doesn’t likely include the URL;

  • Are searching for a product generally and are attracted by the offer in our web ad.

I believe it is important for DRTV marketers to complement offline, traditional marketing efforts with search engine marketing to achieve the best ROI from their DRTV programming. Thus, SEM campaigns should be created that leverage keyword combinations closely associated with the DRTV campaign product and offer, and should take into account the daily search volume for the keywords selected.

As is true for DRTV generally, successful online marketing campaigns that support DRTV should be driven by sophisticated and comprehensive analytics that enable both understanding and predictable outcomes. In addition to core web traffic statistics (visitors, page views, time on site, etc.), the best analytics packages provide:

  • Clickstream analysis, indicating which website elements are contributing to or detracting from purchase behavior;

  • Funnel analysis, indicating the efficacy (or lack thereof) of all calls to action on a site and of the purchase flow;

  • Conversion analysis for any search engine marketing undertaken;

  • Bounce rates track the frequency with which visitors to the site view a single page and depart without further viewing;

  • Traffic sources by geography;

  • Traffic sources by inbound link; and

  • Traffic sources by search term.

Using such analytics, a solid online marketer can quickly identify and correct issues that are detracting from online ROI and amplify website and SEM elements that are performing well and contributing to strong ROI.

By leveraging strong search engine marketing and powerful analytics in tandem with DRTV broadcast media, marketers can truly maximize campaign ROI.

Tim O’Brien is vice president of business development at Cesari Direct, a full-service direct response agency in Seattle, Wash. He can be reached at (206) 281-7975, x353, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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