Cracking The Code on Direct Response

Ed Crain, President, Kingstar Direct Media

Recent news stories pay homage to direct response advertising as the holy grail of monetization. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and WeChat are estimated to put direct response at about 60 per cent of total digital advertising. Facebook is said to have made the largest progression in direct response marketing to date, with experts suggesting "cracking the direct response code" will result in Facebook's valuation to soar. The social networking site has already released new tools to better serve advertisers and interestingly, they mimic how we buy space on TV. The rollout follows a preliminary targeted campaign that saw a 19% increase in targeted reach when Facebook and TV were combined and a 37% increase among millennial audiences.

So how did this come to be?

The cultural shift that is instant shopping is really just direct response in disguise. As the move to online shopping picks up pace, smart direct response marketing is evolving from its yell-and-sell infomercial roots to finding fast growing application in the digital space. Busier-than-ever and overly stimulated shoppers mean brands have increasingly less time to capture – and maintain – interest.

Direct response has long been the leader in how to capture this consumer attention and drive action. In 2014, a reported 2.1 billion people owned a smartphone, a 23% increase from 2013, and the user base is expected to reach a staggering 6.1 billion by 2020. What's more, users capture 51% of content on their phone, leading social media moneymakers Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google to capitalize on this trend, recently introducing "Buy" buttons to enable users to make purchases directly, and instantly, on the page.

In an e-commerce environment, conversion is critical to success. Yet studies show that almost one third of consumers will abandon a slower website in less than 5 seconds, thereby reducing conversions by 7%. A new age of direct response means that more consumers will demand an instant buy option, one that informs, educates and most of all expedites the purchase. For consumer brands, the opportunity to capture market share by shaping this online buyer experience has never been greater.

Brands looking to tap into this demand need not re-invent the wheel, however, as direct response campaigns are long-time experts at serving up accountable drive to retail and web. As pioneers of the instant shopping craze, smart direct response marketers are adopting digital tools early to create campaigns with increased memorability, brand linkage and likeability among the right shoppers. Access to deep digital analytics measuring engagement and real-time ROI adapting for television, radio and digital spots has paved the way for media spends, traditional or digital, to be more accountable than ever before.

This is direct response bread and butter.