If you have heard rumblings that TV is dead, you may start scratching your head at what I’m about to suggest: increase DRTV ads. You heard me right. This “tried-and-true” practice is still important for marketers. Yes, cord-cutting is on the rise, and video streaming is nearing the point of overtaking linear. However, even with these seismic changes, TV remains the undisputed champion for reach, especially among older millennials and preceding generations. The ability to build a brand and establish a consumer connection through the power of sight, sound and motion remains unchanged.

The role of DRTV has always been to engage consumers and elicit a response. In the early days of DRTV, that was tied to a request to “Call Now!” As technology and consumer behavior evolved, so did DRTV. Today, you will see DRTV ads featuring calls to action that encompass a wide range of desired consumer behaviors, such as Visit, Find, Discover, Download, Text, Buy, Like Us and Search. Most marketers can relate to these as outcomes they would like to yield from their campaigns. Think of DRTV as the OG media vehicle when it comes to DTC advertising or getting consumers to raise their hand that they are interested in your brand.

The best opportunities within DRTV exist in national cable, where pricing is often 25% to 35% below general market benchmarks. Many marketers mistakenly equate DR with a run of station schedules that primarily air during overnight hours. This could not be further from the truth, as DR inventory is available across all dayparts.  Furthermore, Prime is typically used to an equal, if not greater, extent than most other dayparts. A key benefit to DRTV is the flexibility it offers, including daypart flexibility to best reach the target audience.

The flexibility DRTV offers in terms of short booking and cancellation lead times is also very appealing to marketers during this time of uncertainty. Marketers using DRTV as part of their media mix have the ability to be nimble in response to pandemic-related fluctuations in consumer demand, normal product seasonality, or unexpected disruptions to their product inventory supply. There are no minimum commitments, and ongoing investment can be tied to performance. In this regard, DRTV and digital are very similar, with both providing the ability to pivot quickly based on actionable insights.

DRTV is also synergistic with a marketer’s digital efforts. A May 2019 eMarketer study cited that nearly 50% of U.S. adults engage with a second screen (tablet, laptop, mobile device) while watching their favorite TV shows. This jumps up to over 70% for casual viewing, a trend that has continued to rise year over year. While on one hand this means that viewers may be somewhat less engrossed in the content they are watching, on the other hand it means that they can immediately find out more about a product that catches their interest. And in our on-demand society, this is exactly what consumers are doing.  In fact, again and again we see a near-perfect correlation between DRTV airings and spikes in search inquiries. 

Speaking of on-demand, there are DRTV opportunities within streaming OTT content as well. This is a wonderful way to extend video reach to include cord-cutting households as well as younger demos, who increasingly prefer steaming content over live TV. This inventory is available across premium publishers, and the publisher lists are customized by client and campaign to maximize target audience in-demo delivery.

So once again, DRTV has continued to evolve and is now part of the digital landscape through our DR OTT offering. Whether traditional linear or steaming video, Quigley-Simpson’s video buying expertise provides our clients with a tremendous opportunity to leverage the power of sight, sound and motion to enhance their brand and engage with potential customers.

Carol Jenss

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