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Media Zone: Measuring Online Response - We Can Do Better

1 Jul, 2009 By: Dick Wechsler Response

Media worlds are colliding. It's now impossible to separate offline and online media. As a result, measurement has grown increasingly complex. The challenge we now face is how to accurately attribute online response back to originating offline media.

 Dick Wechsler
Dick Wechsler

Assumptions are the weak link in media analysis. It has become accepted practice to lump together all Web response generated by a DRTV campaign. Web transactions often comprise 30 to 70 percent of a campaign's total response, and they are far more efficient than offline responses, since they are captured without telemarketing costs.

Despite the increasing importance of online transactions to a campaign's success, we track, analyze and optimize campaigns with the assumption that all television media drives equal Web response, and that all customers garnered are of equal value. Personally, I think accepting these assumptions is the equivalent of making a pact with the devil!

The majority of DRTV advertisers now batch their online response into a single unsourced bucket. This online contribution is considered when calculating bottom line results for the campaign. Without it, most campaigns would not be profitable. Still, despite the importance of online response to our survival, we still don't have a reliable method to allocate Web response back to originating television media.


If we did, we could dramatically improve ROI. To illustrate this point, I asked my research department to chart the Web contribution to nine separate campaigns over the same 17-week period. On average, the Web contributed 40.7 percent of all orders for Campaign One. Web contribution, however, varied significantly by week. In only five of the 17 weeks studied was the Web contribution comparable to the average. In one week, Web contribution fell 13.3 percent to 35.2 percent. In another week, it soared 20 percent to 48.8 percent — nearly half of all orders.

Variances like these presented themselves in all nine campaigns reviewed. Web contributed 35.4 percent of all orders on average for Campaign Two. Web contribution dipped 16.7 percent in the worst performing week and improved 27.4 percent to 45.1 percent of all orders in the best performing week. My hypothesis is that all media are not created equal, even when they deliver acceptable offline CPOs, and that the differences in Web contribution week in and week out relate to changes in the media mix.

The efficiencies DRTV has gained from the Web are invaluable. They have significantly increased the scale and impact of our marketing efforts. Imagine how much further we could take our campaigns if we were able to accurately track online response back to originating TV media. The ability to replicate gains of 20 percent (Campaign One) and 27.4 percent (Campaign Two) would make our efforts far more powerful than they are now. The opportunity is too great to leave to assumption. We must do better.

Dick Wechsler is president and CEO of Irvington, N.Y.-based Lockard & Wechsler and Media Contacts Direct. He can be reached at (914) 250-0250 or

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