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What is the true impact of DRTV?

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Video advertising is a great way show an organization’s impact.  In fact, according to Dr. James McQuivey’s “How Video Will Take Over the World” study from Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words to a consumer when it comes to swaying an audience. And according to digital market research firm Insivia, viewers retain 95% of content when viewing a video vs. 10% when reading text, when asked to recall the information three days later. With impact like that, it’s no wonder that direct response television (DRTV) and connected TV (CTV) are effective in the social good space.

Consider a warm prospect who sees a CTV spot while watching the premiere of the 18th season of Grey’s Anatomy on her Samsung Smart TV, pulls up the organization’s website on her phone to check out their mission more closely, and moves on to something else. The next morning, she opens her mobile browser and decides to make a gift. The DRTV spot clearly drove the gift, but that gift might just show up as a digital gift like any other. How can we measure the impact of DRTV in these situations?

There are two main forms of DRTV—namely long form and short form. Long form DRTV is any TV commercial longer than two minutes, whereas short form DRTV is anything two minutes or less. The “DR” part of DRTV standards for direct response, and it invites and requires the viewer to personally respond (for example, making a donation or purchasing a product.  

Short form DRTV is the more commonly used tool, particularly as more organizations move towards connected TV (CTV). CTV is especially popular for social good organizations, as it requires less of an initial investment.

Linear or broadcast TV is generally what we think of as commercials on live television, while CTV requires an internet-connected device to deliver a more personalized spot. There are some additional key differences between linear (broadcast) TV or CTV. But in general, CTV allows for more refined audience selection.

We know that DRTV (either linear or connected) positively impacts current supporter engagement and is a successful tool for converting both warm and cold prospects. However, it has a few tracking challenges such as not easily knowing who saw the DRTV spot, as well as having different response channels (phone vs. digital).  And while there are “walled garden” approaches that use IP-address matching to attribute CTV responses, they can be challenging for many organizations to implement due to needing to run all content and donations through a specialized (and often expensive) provider.

Many supporters will call the phone number on the screen of a linear TV-based offer. But, we know that there is a sizable number of supporters who choose to research the organization a bit and eventually give online, or even through a different channel. And almost all supporters will give digitally in a CTV-based offer.  So, how can we measure the full impact of DRTV (whether it is linear or connected)? 

Enter Media Mix Modeling

Media Mix Modeling is a precise technique that correlates spend and solicitation by channel (including DRTV, digital, direct mail, etc.) with revenue. It bases future performance on past results and is therefore an ideal solution for organizations with history in a given channel and stability in the market. It can also help isolate channels that are showing diminishing returns and identify seasonality trends. While it is a powerful tool, it is generally not good at long-term forecasting or for estimating the impact of new channels.

For one large social good organization, we were able to build a Media Mix Model which showed that DRTV drove an additional 29% revenue on top of the revenue directly attributed to DRTV:




With the Media Mix Model in-hand, this organization was aware of the impact of DRTV on their fundraising program. This allowed them to make better decisions on how to allocate budget between various channels and realize the best return on investment.

Are you looking to understand the true impact of your DRTV with a Media Mix Model?  Are you interested in learning more about how DRTV can augment your current fundraising efforts—particularly your digital and display? Let’s connect to discuss.