Lifting Response

Take a look at the response rates to your online banner campaign over time, and what do you see? Once a creative execution debuts in a given location, you’ll notice a downward slide in response rates over time.

Talk to anyone who has ever tracked response rates from day to day. Once a given piece of creative gets about 20,000 impressions in a certain location, you generally won’t see a click rate increase in that same location with the same piece of creative.

That is, unless you decide to launch an offline campaign.

As a general rule, offline media will give your Internet campaign a nice lift if both occur simultaneously. Why? As my wise supervisor at Y&R taught me in my media school days, “Nothing ever happens in a vacuum.”

At K2, we’ve noticed some nice trends when combining online and offline media. In most campaigns, due to production lead times for print and broadcast ads, the online portion of the campaign tends to launch first. We watch the response rates carefully, and when print ads hit, there’s quite a nice boost. Here are some nice statistics you might want to take note of.

  • In isolating the effect of a print campaign on an existing online campaign, we noticed up to 50 percent lift in response to the online creative.
  • The effect is pronounced when advertising in both the traditional and the online versions of a media property (e.g. , Wired Magazine and Wired News).
  • The rate of “banner burnout” was less severe in cases where ads in traditional media were running in conjunction with online activity. In most cases where site/creative/location optimization was not possible, response rates were sustained while traditional media campaigns were running.

To what factors can we attribute this boost in response? Tough to say. But we can take a few educated guesses, no?

  • Effective frequency — As we’ve discussed in this column before, sometimes people need to see an ad a few times before acting on it. The offline campaign moves these prospects closer to their effective frequency, and the online campaign gives them a mechanism through which to respond.
  • The B-Word — Yes, folks, I mean branding. Particularly if you’re doing a cross-media promotion with a media property, like the Wired Magazine/Wired News example above, you can create an association between the product you’re advertising and the media property itself.
  • The Credibility Factor — Some netizens can be skeptical and distrustful with regard to online businesses. Advertise in traditional media, and you can help to overcome that skepticism. Spend a nice chunk of change on a broadcast campaign, and people will likely be reassured that you’re not going to go out of business the day after tomorrow.

Standalone online media campaigns are becoming more and more scarce. It’s easier to cut through the heaping mounds of competitive clutter in the online arena when you can afford to launch an offline effort in conjunction with your online endeavors. Think about it.

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