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Guest Opinion: How to Win Over Dual-Screen Consumers

1 Mar, 2013 By: Peter Koeppel Response

Herbert Krugman first formalized the notion that television advertising is a medium that requires frequency in 1965. According to Krugman, the first exposure answered the most fundamental question, “What is it?”

After the second exposure, a viewer decided whether the ad had personal relevancy. The third exposure was the proverbial charm that sealed the deal. This concept of television advertising as a frequency medium was most often applied to image-based advertising that relied on short, aspirational or funny commercials for major brands in the form of 15 and 30 seconds.

As DRTV gained broader adoption — including 60 and 120 second spots and half-hour infomercials — it served as a counterpoint to this idea of frequency. Why? Because the luxury of extra time allowed a marketer to make a fully-realized proposition and compel a purchase decision on the spot, even after a single exposure. This was a truism that worked effectively though much of the 1980s and 1990s.

However, with both the media landscape and consumers’ attention spans acutely fragmented, Krugman’s original premise has now come full circle. With Nielsen reporting the lion’s share of consumers who own mobile phones and tablets are now using them while they watch TV, the importance of frequency has never been more crucial, but with one important distinction: it is no longer only the television that an advertiser must be concerned with, but all of the screens consumers are engaged with. Each must be optimized to ensure impressions are occurring at the right time and place — and with the right audience.

So what are these dual-screen users up to? Nielsen reports that nearly one in five search for more information about products and services advertised on TV. Therefore, it is critical that marketers make it easy for prospects surfing online to find them.

That translates first into leveraging search engine optimization for product name and relevant keywords using both organic and paid search. Marketers who do not manage this properly run the risk of having their leads derailed by competitors. It is also imperative that the marketer maintains a positive reputation, and not let others hijack its brand voice. These online interlopers include competitors masquerading behind “objective” category review sites and detractors of DRTV who condemn the genre like autocratic culture police.

One of the ways to combat the negativity slung at DRTV is to maintain a consistent brand look and feel worthy of any category-leading advertiser. Messaging that is succinct, compelling and consistent with the TV advertising is also crucial. The best way to accomplish this is to think about how to leverage scarcity mentality and the universal desire to get a good deal.

Therefore messages that are offer-based, inspire curiosity to learn more, or are true calls-to-action are great ways to lure prospective customers. These messages act as shortcuts and should be organized to take advantage of the unique real estate each platform affords.

Placing online ads on sites and in dayparts that are compatible with their TV counterparts is a tactic that can also make it easy for consumers to find you. Since short-form DRTV is sold on a run-of-schedule basis, one might wonder how it is possible to find such media.

Nearly one-third of dual-screen users look up info related to TV programming according to Nielsen. So although a DRTV advertiser may not know in advance what specific program they are airing in, they can buy ad presence on a network or station affiliate’s website that their TV campaign is running on. Similarly, Nielsen reports that more than one-third of these same viewers visit social networking sites while watching TV, so, there are opportunities to advertise on the pages of Facebook users who have “liked” a compatible network or programming.

When Krugman put forth his thesis, he suggested that anything after three TV ad impressions was redundant and wasteful. But we have entered a new era. Smart marketers know that a combination of aligned offline and online impressions is necessary to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive world. ■

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