Monthly Archives: August 2012

TV response measurement

Every DRTV advertiser wants to measure response, they are fixated by it. So should an e-commerce company that is experimenting with TV advertising.

Let’s look at some scenarios.

Paid Search

We typically measure the number of people that saw the online advert (Impressions). The number of people that clicked the advert (CTR) and ultimately the number of sales we achieved (Conversion Rate). So these three scenarios give us a simple measurement:

  • Impressions – How many people saw the advert
  • Click through rate (CTR) – How many people responded to the advert
  • Conversion – Number of people that bought

So we have the basic building blocks of measurement – if we are not getting enough conversions we can look at the CTR to see if the advert is engaging. Not enough Impressions – looking ad the volume of search can give us an indication of potential volume so maybe we need to look at a broader match term.

We take this so for granted within the online world we expect the rest of the media landscape to be the same. This measurability is why everyone loves Google! It gives us instant feedback on the ROI of our marketing investment, we can adjust the volume up and down with our budget and measure down to the individual keyword.

TV should be approached differently ultimately it isn’t about measurement it’s about brand building (WRONG!). My view is that TV should be used like any other form of media and measured against other options. So let me show you how you can do something similar with TV.

TV advertising

In the UK all the basic building blocks are there. You can measure the audience that saw the advert (in fact you trade the media on this basis) so we have the Impressions covered. Click through rate is slightly harder as we don’t always respond to an advert instantly. In the old days we used to use unique phone numbers on each advert to allow us to measure the response, but now most consumers sit with a second screen either a laptop, tablet or smartphone while watching TV. So attributing a web visit to an advert would be a really fantastic thing to do.

Luckily you can do this – either by looking straight in Google Analytics or buying a specialist attribution package like TVsquared ( which allows attribution of web visits from an individual TV spot back to the web visitor.

Finally conversion, if you know when the web visitor arrived you can then tag them with a cookie and look at the probability of them being from a TV advert. You have now build a system that is just as measurable as Google analytics but for TV!

The major advantage of TV is that we are usually more engaged and likely to respond to a TV advert than we are to respond to a banner on a website we are using. We also trust TV advertisers more than we trust a random display ad on the Daily Mail website.

This is the other secret of TV advertising, in the hierarchy of trust of media, probably only word of mouth is higher than a TV advert.

So if you are wanting to try and start a TV campaign don’t just blame the person who buys the media for it not working, blame yourself for not putting the basics into place before getting going. TV maybe glamorous but don’t expect to be invited to any after show parties unless you have put the investment into the basics…

Channel Choice

We all think that we know the channels that our consumers watch and try desperately to find relevant programming to allow us to advertise in the correct areas for maximum response.

The reality is that conventional wisdom in this area generally doesn’t always stand true. If you are a new advertiser to TV in the UK there are some great little tricks you can use to get initial effectiveness. A DRTV advertiser that is looking for good response needs to understand the trading environment in the UK for TV advertising – which is quite unique.

BARB is responsible for TV measurement in the UK, they achieve this by creating a statistically relevant panel of households (around 5,000) and install equipment in the rooms that TV is watched to record and register the things that are being watched. This is done through a peoplemeter, I have seen one of these working first hand and there are some nice features to handle audience measurement.

The major downside to this system is the increase in the number of digital channels over the years means that over a household spread of 5,000 people you are naturally going to favour the terrestrial channels. In some ways no one minds as this is actually the majority of the advertising and viewing audience anyway. But for a DRTV advertiser that means that there is a large number of channels that will report low audience figures that still work well from a response point of view as they do actually have people watching them (BARB just doesn’t think so!).

If you can find these stations you can achieve something that you could never achieve in other areas – frequency (we will talk about this later – the number of times an ad is shown on a station), low cost per spot and the final bonus is that the programming is probably based on low interest programming (perhaps old movies or repeats). This is a fantastic place for a DRTV advertiser to be, low interest, low cost programming!

There is of course some downsides, you will quickly saturate these channels but as a starting ground for DRTV tests they can produce some amazing results.

Unfortunately the UK is one of the only places to gain access to this airtime that is very low cost if not free!

Revision from this post is to turn on the TV and watch some channels like True Movies, Wedding TV and Movies4Men!

Creative for TV

One of the major mistakes that e-commerce businesses that are moving into TV is within the creative category. They are forced by advertising agencies and creatives to shoot for clever, funny and expensive adverts.

The typical goal for more e-commerce businesses is to create a response or ideally a sale. There are a few basics I would suggest.

Explain your product

You know the key benefits of your product much better than most, so ensure that the majority of the advert is about the product and explaining the benefits. Avoid being too clever until you have really tested the creative well.


Usually new concepts need time to explain, shoot a 60’s advert first (in extreme cases a 120’s advert might be necessary). Then create a cut down for 30’s. Ensure that you test one against the other weighting the amount of airtime and spend evenly.

Call to action


Don’t be scared to keep the website address on the advert in a clear and readible size throughout the airing of the advert. Ideally also voice over the advert with someone reading out the website address at least once.

I thought I would include some examples of TV ads that although are nicely produced could work really much harder with some additions or perhaps reshoot them to explain the concept better.

Things for me that are missing:

1. Explain the concept of flight comparison – what is it?
2. Money – explain that you will save money which everyone wants to do
3. Add the URL throughout the advert
4. Not sure the link between plane spotters and me – think of the consumer at all times

All in all a little too clever and I would suggest that this would have driven some awareness but would not have driven a huge amount of traffic to the website.

I thought I would compare this to Kayak, both in the same sector and both 30s adverts.

In the advert how many times is the audio repeating the web address. We must consider that we do not consume TV purely when sitting down watching it, we also have it on during other activities (ironing, surfing the web, telling the kids to go to bed!)

As seen on TV

Following on from my recent post I thought I would create a few blog posts on TV advertising for web based businesses (specifically I will focus on UK businesses and their needs).

Most web businesses tend to use PPC (online advertising) and SEO as the main channels to recruit customers. Typically most of this volume comes through Google and if you can run a business successfully without having to break out of this media then well done!

Many of us reach a level of saturation when recruiting good Life Time Value (LTV) customers on the web. We can still recruit more but the law of diminishing returns kicks in and we start to be investing quite large amounts of money for small numbers of new customers.

If you are in a sector that major brands are doing the advertising for you this is normally different, but if you are creating or competing in a new area then it is hard to just hijack traffic based on brand name searches.

We then typically look at lots of other channels such as word of mouth, social and then look at more broadcast channels such as TV and radio.

So what I thought I might do in this mini series if look at the basic building blocks of TV campaign (specifically a DRTV campaign) to try and recruit customers.

For me the major building blocks are:

Creative (the actual advert). We need to think about length (30′ sec/60′ sec), approach and messaging in the advert. Also response device – typically a web address, but sometimes a phone number or text response.

Channel choice – What channels might work really well without any measurement data

Daypart – What time of day do you need to advertise

Measurement – how will I measure success.

Over the next few weeks I will try and look at some creative examples that I think suck and some that are clear and work really well. In my opinion some of the most fundamental mistakes are made with the creative that then results in “TV doesn’t work” statements from management teams.

Homework from this post is to write down the top 5 PPC campaigns (apart from people searching on your brand) that work. If you can write a winning PPC advert in Google you probably can make a great TV advert. Don’t try and do much more than the basics!

TV measurement

Diet Chef have always been a big believer in TV advertising. We were only 4 months old when we started on our first TV advert production and since then have shot an advert pretty much every year.

I regularly speak to Ecommerce companies that think TV is expensive, complex or difficult to measure.

Historically this has been the case but real DRTV advertisers have always included a call to action (phone now, visit our website, call to receive your free gift). Many creative agencies hate “ruining” the ad with an ugly strap or web address, but this is still the number one mistake I see in new advertisers to TV.

The second is measurement, we can all dive into google analytics but doing the same thing for TV is complex, time consuming and riddled with assumptions that usually turn out to be wrong.

If we accept that adoption of TV has peaked in the western world we need to optimise and link with the online world to deliver more value from our hard earned marketing dollars

Otherwise let’s just send them all to Google!